Skip to main content

He might be moving to welterweight, but you won’t see Anthony Pettis fighting everyone at 170-pounds.

The former UFC lightweight champion has moved up in weight to test his skills against some fresh and exciting match-ups — case in point Saturday night’s Stephen Thompson — to see if he can fight through the later stages of his career in style.

But while there are a few figures at welterweight who could offer Pettis interesting nights in the cage, one name we’ll never see him matched up against, regardless how Saturday night goes, is teammate Ben Askren. And not just because they’re teammates, but because Askren is just that good.

“I would never fight Ben Askren, I’d save myself the embarrassment,” Pettis said during a media day. “That dude is a fucking monster. … The type of guy that, you can never count him out. I spinning- back kicked him one time, right in the chin, I could tell he was hurt, he double legs me, gets on top, and just starts grinding me out. He’s one of them tough, deep-down guys. He’s really good.”

Of course, the teammate vs. teammate situation may not even have to arise. At present, Kamaru Usman is the 170-pound champion, meaning there’s no Roufusport clash at the top awaiting Pettis should he perform well at his new weightclass.

“Well, neither of them are champ,” Pettis said. “So there’s ways to get to that belt. And my name, and where I’m at, a great win, I think I’m right there in the line for this. First, I’ve got to get through ‘Wonderboy.’ This is a big risk, going up a weight class to fight the No. 4 in the world, this isn’t an easy task. But I just feel amazing, man.”