Anthony Pettis is “Not Impressed” With Jeremy Stephen’s Striking Skills
By Kelsey Mowatt
Not many fighters have arrived in the UFC accompanied by the kind of attention that surrounded Anthony “Showtime” Pettis when he made his way to the promotion earlier this year. Of course, the hype was understandable, as not only did Pettis begin his UFC tenure armed with the WEC Lightweight Championship and a four fight win streak, his highlight reel, flying cage kick against Ben Henderson in December had electrified the entire MMA world.
Unfortunately for the 24 year-old Pettis, however, his UFC title shot never materialized as a result of Gray Maynard drawing with champion Frankie Edgar in January. In June, Pettis faced one of the division’s most durable, energetic and noted wrestlers in Clay Guida, and the rising fighter was handed a unanimous decision loss. A new title shot run would have to begin.
“I thought it sucked the moment I lost and now a couple of months later I still think it sucked that I lost,” Pettis told FCF recently. “A lot of things played into that one, but I’m not going to make excuses. That won’t happen again.”
The defeat was just the second for Pettis, who since turning professional in 2007, had only lost to Bart Palaszewski before facing Guida.
“You learn a lot from a loss and you learn a lot from a win, but a loss always seems to last a lot longer than a win,” said Pettis. “For me it’s just getting hungry again. I want to be the champ so I just have to get back into the daily grind. It’s a tough job so I need to work my best at it.”
Up next, at UFC 136 on October 8th, Pettis (13-2) will look to return to the winner’s column against veteran Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens (20-6). While the UFC 136 card will feature several notable bouts, including not one but two title fights, due to the striking abilities and aggressive styles of both Pettis and Stephens, their undercard match-up could end up stealing the show.
“It all depends on fight styles,” said Pettis. “Everything’s different when you get inside there with somebody. We’re both coming to fight. We both have a lot riding on this fight. He’s trying to get into that top ten contender spot and I’m trying to get my title shot back.”
While Pettis has forged a reputation for being one of the lightweight division’s more dynamic strikers, Stephens has been also known to punish opponents with his strikes. While Pettis credits Stephens for his power, the Duke Roufus trained fighter is confident that he’ll be able to handle the lightweight come October 8th.
“I’m not impressed with his striking skills,” said Pettis. “He’s definitely a strong puncher and he throws everything into all of his punches; he has some power, but I wouldn’t say he’s a technically good striker but he’s dangerous.”
Recently, Stephens added to the upcoming fight’s back story by stating in his video blog that he was going to “expose this chump”” and knock Pettis “off his pedestal.”
“I’ve heard some of the things he’s been saying man and I’m just appreciative of him selling the fight,” Pettis said . “I’m not going to say nothing; I’m going to let my skills do the talking. I’m going to let him try to gain some fans. My fight is how I gain fans.”
“You always have to expect that,” Pettis added, while discussing Stephen’s comments. “Some people care about what we say, what we do and how we act, so he’s going to do stuff to get people interested in his fights. For me, I don’t need to go out and bad mouth my opponents; people want to see me fight.”