Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis had the opportunity Saturday night to become only the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two divisions, after Randy Couture, BJ Penn, and Conor McGregor. However, he failed to make the contracted weight for the first time in his ten-year career. If opponent Max Holloway wins, he gets the interim belt, but if Pettis wins, no belt. Further, win or lose, Pettis has to give up 20% of his purse to Holloway.
UFC president Dana White had reported that Pettis showed up at fight week a very manageable 10 pounds over the limit. Pettis said it was better still - 153. Further, Pettis said for his first fight at featherweight in August, he began fight week at 160.
Pettis got as low as 146.5 he says, but started to feel light-headed and began to gag. He had difficulty controlling his breathing and started to develop acid reflux.
"It was definitely a different feeling," said Pettis. "I've never felt like that in my life."
His team reached out a UFC doctor, who recommended stopping the cut, a conclusion the team had already come to. Pettis rehydrated slightly, and weighed in at 148.
"It was a team call," said Pettis. "My body just wouldn't let go of that extra weight. It's just one those things. We did everything right beforehand, everything was on point. My body just gave out. I had nothing left to give.
"In the end, we decided that my career and health are more important than those two extra pounds."
"I'm not here for the interim belt. Originally, this fight wasn't for the belt. The plan has always been to just beat Max Holloway.
"And he's not beating me tomorrow night."
As for the future, Pettis said his focus is on the fight right now, and will make that determination when it is over.