Pettis (23-10 MMA, 10-9 UFC), a former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, will fight the final bout of his contract when he meets Alex Morono (18-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in a welterweight matchup at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
“Showtime” isn’t tying himself to a specific scenario going forward. However, he confirmed his contract is set to expire, and said there’s nothing firm in place as far as a new deal.
“It is my last fight on the UFC contract,” Pettis told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “Under my current contract. So we’re in negotiations. Not sure where we’re going from here. My team keeps asking me questions and trying to figure out what’s next, but I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m in such a good spot mentally that I don’t want to fog that vision with what’s next.’ Because if I think about what’s next I’m not in the present moment.”
UFC Fight Night 183 will represent Pettis’ 20th UFC appearance dating back to his promotional debut in June 2011. He spent the two-and-a-half previous years fighting for the Zuffa-owned WEC, so his ties to the promotion go back well over a decade.
The possibility of Saturday being his final octagon walk exists. However, Pettis said he’s not letting any of that consume him. He’s got a fight to win, and that’s the priority.
“I’m not worried about that,” he said. “I feel like whatever’s supposed to happen as far as where I’m going next or if I’m fighting in the UFC again or if I can make another title run, my performance on Saturday will dictate that,” Pettis said. “It’s not something I can control. I can’t go in there and meet with guys and say, ‘I’m going to do this.’ My performances are going to dictate what happens next.”
Although Pettis is doing this best to keep mentally focused on the task at hand, it’s impossible to ignore the reality. UFC president Dana White has confirmed multiple times in recent weeks that the promotion is trimming down on its roster size, and with the likes of Yoel Romero and Anthony Johnson already splitting from the company, it’s not impossible to say Pettis could fall into that category.
But that doesn’t put additional pressure on Pettis, he insists. Because, ultimately, if the UFC decides it doesn’t want to do business with him any long, that’s not something within his contract.
“I think that the UFC is a great business,” Pettis said. “I’ve been part of this company for 12 years almost now. I’ve seen every stage of this company and I’ve been on the top of the top when I was getting on Wheaties box and was world champion. I’ve been fighting for my job when I had a three-loss losing streak from Rafael dos Anjos to Eddie Alvarez to Edson Barboza. I’ve been on the chopping block for a long time where if I let that mindset play in, there’s no coming back from that because that’s what you focused on. It’s a blessing for me to have this mindset right now with all the news about cuts and going to different promotions. I don’t feel pressure for that right now.”