Fighters don’t tend to take extended breaks from competition unless forced to do so, as most believe remaining active is a good way to stay sharp rather than taking time off and risking the possibility of ring rust coming into play. Unfortunately, UFC lightweight Anthony Pettis was stuck on the shelf or the past eleven months with a series of health-related woes including an injured shoulder.
Now healed, Pettis is ready to take to the Octagon again and will do this weekend against Donald Cerrone at UFC on FOX 6. And, as it turns out, he’s not worried about his eleven-month absence from the cage affecting his output on Saturday night.
“Even with the rest of last year off, I feel like I gained so much skill and so much knowledge. When you are getting ready for a fight, you can’t really get better technically. But with a year off, I really focused on my technique,” admitted Pettis in an interview with the UFC’s website. “I think I’m comfortable on both sides and I’m even more dangerous now. I’m always evolving. I feel like my southpaw is as good as my right stance, so I’m getting better everywhere.”
“The year off is not going to be a factor,” he continued confidently. “I’m feeling great. I’ve been training. I only took that time to heal my body. I know I’m going to have a long career in this and I didn’t want to rush back not healthy. I know that I want this to last. I don’t want anything to decide my fights besides my skills, so I took the year off. I feel excellent. I’m ready to continue right where I left off in Japan.”
The 15-2 Pettis was last seen knocking Joe Lauzon out with a headkick at UFC 144. While Cerrone has never suffered a strike-based stoppage, “Showtime” won’t necessarily be looking to end things in a similar fashion as he did against Lauzon – he’s simply out to have his hand raised.
“He’s a very dangerous guy. Really good, really tough. He’s one of those guys who really doesn’t have any holes in his game. He’s very active, he always comes to fight, and he’s always ready to fight. He’s not going to come out of shape and not come ready to fight. He’s going to come to fight,” admitted Pettis of his adversary’s abilities. “He’s going to be a tough fight for me and I’m preparing for him to be one of the toughest fights of my career. But they all are. At this level, every fight is tough.”
Pettis-Cerrone will face off on the main card of UFC on FOX 6. Both are on two-fight winning streaks and have combined to finish 27 of the 34 foes they’ve beaten.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC