Sergio Pettis, Younger Brother of Anthony, Welcomes Spotlight Heading into Pro MMA Debut
By Kelsey Mowatt
The vast majority of mixed-martial-artists make their pro debut far removed from the spotlight, without much attention or scrutiny from the fans and media alike. When your brother is the former WEC lightweight champ and one of the more dynamic fighters in the sport, however, people may start to take notice of your career a little earlier than most. Such is the case with Sergio Pettis, the 18 year-old brother of UFC lightweight Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, who is fighting professionally in MMA for the first time at the September 10th, Canadian Fighting Championship card in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“I’m more than comfortable doing the media,” Sergio Pettis told FCF recently. “I think it’s great that people are talking about me at a young age. Anthony pretty much paved the way for me, he’s getting me all this media attention and it’s awesome. I think there is a lot of pressure on me, but I think having pressure on you makes you more dedicated to the sport. This is my job; it’s something I’m committed to doing. So the pressure is helping me out a lot more.”
While Pettis has already had successes in his own right and has gone 4-0 in amateur MMA competition, he understands that people will be looking to draw comparisons between his style and that of his accomplished brother’s.
“I always get asked that question you know? Are you like Anthony?” Said Pettis, who currently competes as a bantamweight. “We all have different styles and I like the flash too, but I don’t think I would have done that kick off the cage. That was crazy. But I do have some tricks up my sleeve and if I’m comfortable I’ll throw them. I’m more of a technical fighter though; I keep it pretty relaxed, but once I open up I’m pretty much like “Showtime” junior.”
As MMA continues to grow in popularity and becomes a mainstream fixture in North American society, fighters that are turning pro before the age of 20 seems to be more common. Pettis is yet another member of this new generation, who are training in not just one traditional martial art from a very young age, but all the components of MMA.
“I think it’s awesome starting at a young age,” said Pettis, who began taking Taekwondo lessons at the age of five and has since gone on to compete as a professional kickboxer. “You learn how to get tough, you learn how to fight grown men, you learn wrestling, jiu-jitsu, all that as opposed to some guys who may get started at year 21. You just have that many more years on them.
“So I think training in Taekwondo helped me out in the transition into kickboxing, jiu-jitsu and wrestling in high school, it just all came together,” Pettis added. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
In addition, Pettis has benefitted from training with and learning from his older brother Anthony, who at the age of 24 has already battled some of the world’s most talented lightweights.
“I’m learning from his mistakes as well as his positive experiences in the sport,” Pettis stated. “He’s really focused on helping me out and it’s just awesome being at the gym together. It’s awesome having that brotherly love.”
On Septemner 10th, Pettis will take on Kyle Vivian, who has gone winless in three fights while competing for the Canadian promotion Wreck MMA.
“I know all of his losses have come via triangle choke,” said Pettis about Vivian, who he will meet at Winnipeg’s Convention Centre. “I saw a couple of his fights and I know he’s a real wild brawler, so I’m going to throw straight punches and if the opportunity comes take him down, go for that triangle I guess.”
“I’m already nervous,” Pettis noted, while discussing his pre-fights nerves. “I’m always like this for a fight, but I just fought about a month ago in my first kickboxing fight in about a whole year, so I got a couple butterflies out.”