The “Showtime kick” really put Anthony Pettis on the map, but it also proved to be a bit of a curse.
You remember the kick – the one that went viral before things easily went viral. It was 2010, and WEC 53 took place as the final WEC show due to a merger with the UFC. In the main event, quick rising Pettis dethroned lightweight champion Benson Henderson, thanks in part to this kick he landed late in the five-round fight (via YouTube):
The flashy off-the-cage kick, which has garnered million of views over the years, gave Pettis all kinds of momentum as he arrived in the UFC, where he eventually won five straight fights and claimed the belt with another win over then-UFC champ Henderson.
MMAjunkie recently caught up with Pettis to discuss the legendary kick – and why it wasn’t always a good thing in the years that followed.
“The crazy thing is that I tried to be that guy too much, where I was forgetting what got me to that ‘Showtime kick,’” he said. “Like, watch that fight. It wasn’t like I was throwing those kicks the whole fight. It was one ‘Showtime kick,’ and it landed. It was great basics, clean technique.
“I got away from that technique side because I was focused on wrestling so much. There was just a lot of crap that I just had to fix, so I found out what I needed to do, and I’m back doing it.”
Next up for Pettis, who’s in overall 2-5 skid (but against a who’s who of featherweights and lightweights) is a bout with Michael Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), who’s No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings. The bout, which is part of the stacked UFC 226 pay-per-view event on July 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is a big opportunity for No. 12-ranked Pettis (20-7 MMA, 7-6 UFC) as he tries to reclaim contender status.
Pettis said it’s a winnable matchup.
“I’ve got Chiesa coming up, and that’s all I’ve been focusing on,” he said. “I’ve got a southpaw – a tall, lanky guy. He’s not very great anywhere, but he’s definitely dangerous.
“His striking – I’ve seen way better strikers. I’ve fought way better strikers. I’ve fought better grapplers. I’ve just got to my mind right to do my thing that I’m confident at.”
Pettis said it could be the first step toward getting back to the top of the division.
“I feel like I’m three good wins from being back in the top 10 or top five,” he said.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Why the 'Showtime kick' was a mixed blessing for ex-UFC champ Anthony Pettis