It’s only been a day since Anthony Pettis announced that he was leaving the UFC to become a free agent, yet he’s now reported to have signed for the PFL promotion.
PFL are best known for hosting tournament in multiple weight classes with a $1 million prize for the winners, and Pettis will now be joining the ranks at lightweight for their forthcoming season in 2021 after the promotion took this year off due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Pettis isn’t the only high-profile fighter to sign up for PFL in recent times, with former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum having also made the switch, while boxing ace Clarissa Shields also signed up for the promotion in the same division as current champion and former Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison.
It would be interesting to know what’s been going on behind the scenes for Pettis in the past few days as this has all happened a lot faster than anyone could have predicted.
At the weekend after racking up his second win in a row in the UFC on the last fight of his deal with the promotion Pettis had indicated that he was in no rush to make a decision on his future and intended to enjoy the Christmas break first.
There were solid indications at the time that he was still interested in staying with the UFC, even citing a rematch with Tony Ferguson as being on his radar, but just days later he was announcing that he had opted to leave the promotion.
Had the UFC shown a lack of interest in re-signing the former lightweight champion after a five-year stint in which he’d delivered just a 6-8 record, were they unwilling to meet his pay demands, or was he just suddenly eager to move on to pastures new?
At this stage we don’t know, but what’s also surprising is that despite now being a free agent, Pettis didn’t appear to spend long playing MMA’s other leading promotions off against each other to secure himself the best possible deal.
In fact, it was only hours after Bellator boss Scott Coker expressed an interest in speaking with Pettis, that PFL suddenly announced that they had captured his signature.
Compared to the UFC and Bellator, PFL feels like the path of least resistance for Pettis if he’s looking to become a champion again, though the current PFL lightweight kingpin Natan Schulte does have a very solid 20-3 career record and has defeated ex-UFC fighter’s like Rashid Magomedov, Ramsey Nijem and Chris Wade during his current seven-fight winning streak.