With only four bouts in his professional MMA career, Sergio Pettis is scheduled to fight for the third time this year on June 15th when he squares off against Tom McKenna.
In his last fight Sergio made his 125lb debut, dropping from 135lbs, against a very game Chris Haney. While he earned a unanimous decision win, it was not in the fashion he would have hoped. Even at the young age of 18, Sergio is moving forward and focusing on the improvements he needs to make, to ensure he turns in a performance satisfactory of his standards.
Sergio Pettis is not your average 18yr old kid. Primarily because he could probably beat up most 18yr olds but that’s not what Sergio is about. I spent twenty minutes speaking with him and not only did he answer like a seasoned veteran of the sport but his desire to continually get better and reaching the elite echelon, was evident.
With his best friend and older brother as his mentor and the team of Roufusport behind him; you can bet to see him fighting against elite competition sooner than later.
Gerry Rodriguez: It’s been a month since your unanimous decision win over Chris Haney, how did you feel after going the full 15minutes for the first time in your career? Did the weight cut have any impact on you?
Sergio Pettis: The weight cut was my first time actually cutting weight. Everybody’s first time cutting weight they usually do it dumb. I was really flat footed and didn’t have the little pop in me, that extra strength I needed. It was a big challenge for me and I learned my lesson and hope I can do better next time with my weight cutting.
Gerry Rodriguez: Is there a takeaway from that fight as far as having to make adjusts in your game?
Sergio Pettis: I went in there and I knew something was wrong. Usually before a fight you feel the nerves…I think the weight cut might have affected me. I need to be a little bit more aggressive in the cage, that’s for sure. I need to stop worrying about what my opponents throwing at me and I need to just go out there and throw what I do in the gym. I can perform a lot better than what I did that night.
Gerry Rodriguez: Do you guys work on the mental aspect of the game at Roufusport?
Sergio Pettis: We work on the mental aspect but for me I just feel, I guess I wasn’t mentally strong in that fight and didn’t feel comfortable. I think for this next fight I have to work on the mental game and I need to feel confident. I just wasn’t confident enough.
Gerry Rodriguez: Your brother Anthony had that big matrix like kick against Ben Henderson and now everyone is always expecting him to do something flashy. He’s said that the guys at Roufusport do practice moves like that all the time. Can you describe the craziest move you’ve pulled off in training?
Sergio Pettis: I don’t know man, during training I feel a lot more comfortable, obviously it’s not a big fight but we throw out some cool stuff. My favorite thing I threw out recently, someone got me in a single-leg and I did a back-flip out of the single-leg and then shot in off the back-flip and it worked pretty good. A lot of wrestlers do it but I never tried it so I think that’s one of the craziest things I’ve done recently.
Gerry Rodriguez: What’s the likely hood we’ll see you do that in a fight?
Sergio Pettis: If I feel comfortable I’ll do it. That’s what I need to work on the most, just being confident. I have all the stuff, I have all the technique, I have all the skill, I have great cardio. I just need to get more comfortable in the cage and getting used to that crowd around me. I’m still young.
Gerry Rodriguez: Let’s talk about your life outside the ring, you’re 18yrs old, you’re brother is in the UFC, you’re considered a top prospect, how hard is it staying on track and keeping focus from all the distractions?
Sergio Pettis: I guess I’m soaking it in a little bit but I’m not where I want to be, I’m not top notch level. I got a good role model. My brother Anthony, he’s been through it all so he shows me what’s good. Just to stay focused and everything will come. That’s what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to stay focused on fighting and the benefits of fighting it’s all going to come.
Gerry Rodriguez: I want to get your thoughts on an exchange that recently happened between your teammate Ben Askren and Helwani. Helwani called him boring and Askren challenged him to a fight. When something like that happens, does the whole team view Helwani differently?
Sergio Pettis: I think it’s kind of funny. The twitter stuff, all the arguments on twitter, everybody has their opinion on fighting. Ben may seem like a boring fighter but if you can stay on top of a guy after five rounds and kick his butt for five rounds that’s a good fighter right there. We don’t take it all too serious, it’s just talk on twitter, it’s not a big deal.
Gerry Rodriguez: Ben is the wrestling coach at Roufusport, what’s it like rolling with him?
Sergio Pettis: That guy can think of a take down and you are for sure going down. (laughing) He’s that good.
Gerry Rodriguez: How do you think he’d fair against the UFC’s elite?
Sergio Pettis: I think Ben would do good. He’s still adapting to the sport. He went from all wrestling and no fighting at all, to Bellator champion. For sure he could hang with all the 170 pounders at the UFC.
Gerry Rodriguez: Last Question-It’s just a matter of time before you’re in the UFC, let’s imagine you’re given the option to choose your opponent, who do you pick?
Sergio Pettis: I’m a big fan of Ian McCall. I would love to fight him one day, I love his mustache and I love his style.