Biography and Profile of Anthony Pettis

Sergio Pettis and Anthony Pettis
Anthony Pettis, right, with his younger brother Sergio Pettis. Kris Connor / Contributor / Getty Images

When Zuffa purchased the WEC, they did so to grow the lighter weight divisions. So when they decided to meld the two organizations together, a strong crop of fighters had already emerged in the organization. Two of them went at it at WEC 53 in the organization's final fight between Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis.

In the final round, most had it all tied up. And that round was a pretty close one until the unthinkable happened.

Namely, Pettis jumped off the cage wall and landed a roundhouse kick, dropping his adversary. On that day, one of the greatest MMA kicks of all-time was executed. It was something out of the movie 'The Matrix'.

And only one man was capable of it. That man was Anthony Pettis. Here is his story.

Date of Birth

Anthony Pettis was born on January 27, 1987 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Nickname, Training Camp, Fighting Organization

Pettis's nickname is fittingly Showtime. He trains at Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin under the legendary Duke Roufus. Pettis fights for the UFC.

Early Martial Arts Years

At the age of five, Pettis began training in Taekwondo under Master Larry Struck as an American Taekwondo Association (ATA) Tiny Tiger. Even as late as October 2009, Pettis still viewed his Taekwondo background as relevant and important to his MMA success.

“My instructor, Master Larry Struck, has been my instructor for 17 years," Pettis said, according to an MMASuccess.com article.

"He’s taught me the fundamentals of traditional martial arts while allowing me to try new things that have come my way. I wouldn’t be the martial artist I am today without that background.”

MMA Beginnings

Pettis made his professional MMA debut on January 27, 2007 at GFS 31, defeating Tom Erspamer by first round TKO.

In fact he won his first nine bouts, including taking home the Gladiator Fighting Series Lightweight belt and defending it twice, before succumbing to Bart Palaszewski by split decision in his second WEC fight.

WEC Champion

After losing to Palaszewski, Pettis rattled off three straight WEC wins over Danny Castillo (KO), Alex Karalexis (triangle choke), and Shane Roller (triangle choke), before getting a shot at the WEC Lightweight Championship against Ben Henderson in the WEC's final fight. He won the bout by decision to become the final WEC Lightweight Champion. His jumping round kick off the cage wall was the highlight of the night.

UFC Debut

On June 4, 2011, Pettis made his UFC debut against Clay Guida, losing a very close decision.

Taking Home the UFC Championship Belt

When Pettis defeated Benson Henderson by first round armbar at UFC 164, he took home the UFC Lightweight Championship belt. It was the second time that he had defeated Henderson.

Fighting Style and Ranks

Pettis holds a 3rd-degree black belt in Taekwondo. Along with this, he demonstrates amazing leg dexterity, flexibility, and kicks in his MMA bouts. He is one of the most athletic kickers to ever grace an MMA stage, having completed both round kicks and knees off the cage wall.

Beyond that, Pettis also uses his hands quite effectively. In the end, he's a very technical striker with good power. What's more, he's as exciting as they come.

From a ground perspective, Pettis puts his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt to good use. He is a strong submission fighter who can do things from the top position as well as the guard. His wrestling has also improved a ton over time.

Personal Life and Tragedy

Pettis's younger brother Sergio Pettis is a professional MMA fighter as well. Anthony currently owns the Showtime Sports Bar in Milwaukee with trainer Duke Roufus.

Pettis's life has not been without tragedy. At his UFC.com profile, he had the following to say regarding the loss of his father.

"I have been doing martial arts my whole life since the age of five. My father would push me to train hard every day.

On November 12, 2003 he was killed in a house robbery. I knew from that day I would make him proud and become a professional fighter."

Some of Anthony Pettis's Greatest MMA Victories

  • Pettis defeats Donald Cerrone by TKO at the UFC on FOX 6: Three roundhouse kicks to the ribs following a one of a kind jumping knee off of the cage wall left Cerrone on the canvas in this one. In the end, Pettis was just too dynamic a striker. With the win, the UFC brass were forced to take notice of him as a valid UFC lightweight contender.
  • Pettis defeats Joe Lauzon by KO at UFC 144: The bottom line is that Pettis nailed Lauzon with an amazingly powerful head kick. Several punches on the ground later and that was that. It was just another example of his traditional Taekwondo background bringing kicks to the cage that other fighters could not deal with.
  • Pettis defeats Ben Henderson by unanimous decision at WEC 53: One of the best fights in WEC history, and of course, it was the last one. The jumping round kick off the cage wall by Pettis floored Henderson and won the Milwaukee native the WEC Lightweight Championship. What's better than that?
  • Pettis defeats Shane Roller by triangle choke WEC 50: If people still needed proof that Pettis could fight on the ground, his triangle choke victory over an elite wrestler like Roller proved it.