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When Sergio Pettis decided to test free agency, he was nothing short of petrified.
After a mentally taxing process, Pettis (18-5) made the decision to leave the UFC and sign with Bellator last month. It didn’t take long before his fear turned into excitement.
“I put myself out there, and Bellator put out a great opportunity,” Pettis told MMA Junkie on Wednesday in his first interview since signing with the promotion. “This will be the next step for me. The UFC will always be my home.
“I’ll always have love for the UFC. I loved growing up there, but sometimes when you grow up you’ve got to leave home and live other places. I feel like the Bellator division is deep. I’m a scuba diver out here exploring new waters. I’m going for gold.”
It wasn’t until after his victory against Tyson Nam, at UFC on ESPN+ 17 in September, that Pettis came to the realization his contract had expired. He decided to play the field, but the uncertainty was new territory for the 26-year-old fighter.
“I took time to be a free agent, which was honestly scary a little bit,” Pettis said. “I was scared, and I didn’t want to leave the UFC and jobless out here. I didn’t know what opportunities were going to present themselves. … I was terrified. I was like, ‘I don’t want to be jobless. I don’t want to leave the UFC.’”
After considering his options, Pettis decided to join Bellator. The Roufusport product couldn’t be happier with the decision he made and indicated the timing was perfect.
“It was an offer I didn’t want to refuse, and the vibe just felt right,” Pettis said. “This was the right decision to make looking back now. For a little bit, I was scared to leave the UFC because I grew up there.
“It was like, ‘Damn, man. I feel like I’m leaving home.’ I had to do this for me and my future. I’m excited. I’m excited to go out there and put on the performance that I’m capable of doing. Nothing changes, just the organization.”
Pettis mainly chalked up his decision to the terms of the deal and the vibe of the promotion. A flyweight, Pettis also said the uncertainty of the UFC 125-pound division’s future played a role in his decision-making process.
“The uncertainty was what scared me,” Pettis said. “I was high up in that division. All of a sudden, it just completely disintegrated. I’m like, ‘Dang, I don’t want to deal with that again.’ That really put me in a dark place. This is the right opportunity and was the right decision to make.”
Now officially a member of the Bellator 135-pound roster, Pettis has had time to look over the lineup. He voiced his excitement for potential opportunities to fight fresh, new faces in a “deep” bantamweight division.
“I’m gonna fight them all,” Pettis said. “Whoever’s talking. Who wants to fight me? I’m here to fight them. Whatever names they put in front of me. I don’t refuse fights. I’m not scared of anybody. I’m going to fight whoever they put in front of me.”
Details of his debut haven’t been released at this time, but Pettis hinted fans can expect something soon.
News | MMA Junkie