Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is surrendering his assault on the featherweight division and heading back to fight at 155 pounds.
“It’s too much to make the cut,” Pettis said after losing to Max Holloway at UFC 206 on Saturday. “I was dying from the weight cut. They literally had to pull me out the sauna. I depleted my body. It’s too much of a cut.
Pettis had been handed a golden opportunity to take the short route to a title shot. He was slated to fight Holloway for the interim featherweight championship in Toronto. The winner would then go on to fight Jose Aldo for the unified title, likely at UFC 208 in February in Brooklyn, N.Y.
That opportunity dissolved for Pettis on the Friday before the fight when his weight cut went awry, leaving him too heavy to make the required 145-pound limit. Holloway hit the mark, so the fight was still a championship bout for him, but not for Pettis.
In the end, Holloway won the bout and an opportunity to fight Aldo, while Pettis determined that his destiny did not await at 145 pounds.
Although the weight cut was brutal and put Pettis on the return to the class where he has already held the belt, he didn’t use that or the probability that he broke his hand in the opening round of the fight as an excuse.
“The first punch I hit him, hit the top of his head, broke my hand,” Pettis said when asked when he thought the injury occurred. “But Max Holloway is a beast. Give the dude his credit. He went in there and did his thing, stood with me, and he got the belt, man.”
Once his hand heals, Pettis will return to lightweight, where he’ll try to fight his way into title contention for the belt currently wrapped around Conor McGregor‘s waist.