Anthony Pettis returning to lightweight

Anthony Pettis

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (19-6) announced that he will be returning to the lightweight (155 lbs.) division following his third round TKO loss to Max Holloway (17-3) in the UFC 206 main event this past weekend. Pettis and Holloway were supposed to be competing for the interim featherweight (145 lbs.) title, but because Pettis missed weight by three pounds, only Holloway was eligible to win the belt — and he did.

Pettis made a successful featherweight debut in August with a third-round submission of Charles Oliveira and was immediately thrust into the Top 10 in the division. However, after some extreme weight-cutting issues leading up to the bout with Holloway, the former UFC lightweight champ has decided he will return to the division where he previously held the belt.

Pettis explained his decision in the post-fight interview:

“It’s too much to make the cut, bro,” Pettis told UFC commentator Joe Rogan. “I was dying from the weight cut. Literally they had to pull me out of the sauna. I depleted my body, so it’s too much of a cut. I have to go back to lightweight. I can’t make the 45 weight cut. It’s too much.”

Despite previously holding lightweight titles in the WEC and UFC, Pettis’s most recent experience in the 155-pound division found him on a three-fight skid. He last fought in the division back in April when he dropped a unanimous decision to Edson Barboza.

Pettis won the UFC lightweight championship in Aug. 2013 when he submitted Benson Henderson in the first round at UFC 164. He successfully defended the belt once against Gilbert Melendez before losing the title to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185 in March of last year.