Anthony Pettis has seen it all and achieved a lot in his MMA World Championship.
Even after winning titles in multiple organizations, he couldn't pass up the opportunity to attract new talent in the Professional Fighters League and have a solid schedule.
The announced lightweight will make his PFL debut against Clay Collard on April 23rd in Atlantic City. While adding to an already formidable career is paramount to him, with this new journey and format he also wants to absorb more and enjoy himself more.
"I've been in this sport for so long and I'm kind of a pioneer, which is crazy because I'm only 34 years old," said Pettis. "I want to come here and stay present and enjoy the moments because that's what it's all about. I want to go in there and enjoy the moment, not fight for the next fight, just keep an eye on the moment for the next 15 minutes in the octagon. I will Get in, be there, have as much fun as possible and continue building my legacy. "
We met with Pettis to discuss the mental and physical advantage, to know his fight plan and what a typical camp and preparation for a fight look like for him.
You've talked a lot about the stability of knowing when to fight and knowing your schedule as a great lure to join the PFL. What is the benefit of knowing your schedule early on?
My entire career as a fighter was the same when these huge fights surfaced, and it could be three weeks notice. I fought 20 days, even 17 days in advance. The entire schedule has already been created in this format. I have enough time to heal my body, rehydrate, and feel good when I go to a training camp again. It just gives me more structure in my life knowing when to fight, when to lose weight and when to prepare for fights. I'm already quarantined here in Atlantic City so I'm ready to go.
Can you explain the strain and stress both mentally and physically when you have to jump into a fast camp because a fight is planned in the short term?
It's a mental thing. I've been doing this my entire life so I feel like my skills are always there, but if you get your mindset right and your body adjusted to your mindset, whether it's about weight loss or cardio and conditioning – there is a lot of mental aspects that go with it. 20 days notice can play some tricks on you when preparing for a fight, as opposed to two to three months preparing for a fight.
What does a typical camp look like for you?
My camps usually last 10 to 12 weeks. Monday to Friday is the main part of our working days. We get up on Mondays and condition ourselves in the morning. Strength and stamina are definitely part of the schedule. On Tuesday we go to martial arts training. Monday is sparring day. Tuesday is Jiujitsu. Wednesday is like wrestling / sparring day. Thursday is another wrestling / ground game day. Then we go home, recuperate, rehydrate, rest and go back at night and do a pad session with my trainer that has strike, boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo or whatever the focus that day, depending on who I fight against. We usually finish with a sauna or hot tub and some cardio.
Can you describe part of your weight gain process and what did you find that works for you?
I walk around at around 185 pounds and fight 155 pounds so I cut 30 pounds in a two to three month period. My biggest thing is the diet. I'll bring a nutritionist. His name is Eric Pena and he lives in Miami but he comes out and makes all of my meals for me. The goal is to reduce my weight, but also to keep my energy and focus high. That's the hard part. so as not to starve to death by being defeated while trying to fight and still eat enough where you are energized and you can get through your workout while losing weight.
You need to know your body, what foods you can eat, what to drink, what your exercise plan is, and there is a lot of science behind this. In the last week before the fight, we're doing a load of water. We like three gallons of water on Monday, one gallon on Tuesday, half a gallon on Wednesday, no water on Thursday, and we weigh in on Friday. We also eliminate sodium so your body is only filled with water. We do a water cut for the last 10 to 12 pounds and that's the process. I've been doing this for a long time.
Do you change parts of your camp depending on the opponent or do you concentrate mainly on improving your strengths?
I think styles make fights, especially in mixed martial arts. You have people who wrestle hard, people who are kickboxers, boxers, jiujitsu – so you have to find out who you are fighting and what their skills are. I think earlier in my career I was very focused on that when I was planning my opponent. w, at this level of my career, I know what [my opponents] are good at, and I always focus more on my strengths than my weaknesses in my camp to build my confidence and mindset. We focus on the weaknesses, but I don't put that in the foreground: "I have to be good at it because he's good at it." It's about what I'm good at and I'm going to sharpen it to do better and he has to stop.
What is your guilty pleasure when you are out of camp?
When I'm out of camp, carbs are probably my greatest guilty pleasure. When I'm at camp, I really need to watch my carb intake just because it contains water, and your carb intake definitely affects how much you weigh. When I'm not at camp, I indulge in pizza, tacos, burgers, bread, and anything I can't eat while exercising.
This time around, I feel like I did it smart. I hired a nutritionist and brought him in for the past six weeks. I feel like the way I eat is normal and I don't feel like I am dieting to save weight for a fight. I feel like I am only leading a healthy lifestyle.
There really isn't much free time with this current schedule as I believe you will need to be ready again in a few months. How does that feel to your body?
This is my first time so I'm trying to be really smart with my approach. I don't take this first fight as an all-or-nothing fight. I work out great and my body is healthy. I am smart, I listen to my body and I take my time. For example, let's say if we're fighting in the UFC, Bellator or OneFC – people who want to get title recordings have a fight and a chance to make their claim, and then they probably won't fight for another three or four Months depending on the performance.
This time I fight every two to six months so it's interesting and I haven't had my first fight so I don't know what it feels like to have such a quick turnaround to be right back in training for camp for a fight. But the way I trained for this fight, I feel like I can do that, along with the little injuries, bumps and bruises. I was very smart in the way I approached and attacked this guy. I want to get on and off because we don't get paid for overtime in mixed martial arts. I'll try to get out without getting hurt.