The MMA world may know Anthony “Showtime” Pettis for his Showtime kick, but my first major introduction to him came three years ago when he was featured on an episode of the docu-series, World of Jenks.
As filmmaker Andrew Jenks took us through a week in Showtime’s life, we learned that Pettis was helping to care for his mother and brother while finding time to teach tae kwon do to the little kids in his hometown of Milwaukee.
We also learned that he was being haunted by the memories of the news that his father was killed in a home invasion when he was 16.
Watching the documentary made it impossible not to root for Pettis to become a hero in his hometown. And thanks to his versatile style, he became UFC lightweight champion in his hometown.
“I grew up coming to this arena,” said Pettis to Joe Rogan after the fight. “I remember sitting in the nosebleeds. So this is for all you in the nosebleeds.”
The way he connected and switched from left to right made it feel like he was using his feet for hands. It was that effortless — similar to the way his ground game was good enough to avoid being pounded and still submit someone from his back.
Just ask the former champion Benson Henderson why he had to verbally tap when Pettis “felt his arm snap.” Or how he felt when Showtime ran up the cage and dropped him with a kick to the jaw the first time they met.
But the best part about it is that he showcased an incredible focus that outshined the flash that comes with his nickname. Which is why it’s no surprise that having his injuries questioned by Jose Aldo’s coach, fueled him to call out the featherweight champ for a rare UFC super-fight.
Give Showtime a few months with about 10 pounds to cut, and we could be seeing the man from Milwaukee raising two belts.
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