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28th Nov 2016

Anthony Pettis unconcerned with Conor McGregor payday, just wants championships

Legacy > money.

Darragh Murphy

It would appear that, throughout 2016, every fighter from featherweight to welterweight couldn’t wait to drop Conor McGregor’s name in the hope of entering themselves in the discussion for the most lucrative bout of their career.

Jeremy Stephens at 145lbs, Tony Ferguson at 155lbs and Tyron Woodley at 170lbs are proof of how a fight against McGregor is valued across several weight divisions as all three attempted to engage in trash talk with ‘The Notorious’.

But Anthony Pettis is not chasing that big-money bout. He’s far more concerned with legacy.

Last Friday, Pettis found out that his UFC 206 meeting with Max Holloway was being upgraded to main event status due to the injury sustained by Daniel Cormier and, not only that, but ‘Showtime’ also discovered that an interim featherweight title would be on the line on December 10.

UFC 181 - Pettis v Melendez

Jose Aldo, who was interim champ at 145lbs at the time, was subsequently promoted to the undisputed champion and McGregor was stripped of the belt that he claimed by knocking out his Brazilian rival last year.

But amid the shake-up, Pettis insists that his sole goal is to get his hands on gold as the former UFC lightweight champion wants to cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.

“I’m not even on that Conor train like everybody else is thinking ‘Oh I want that Conor fight!'” Pettis said on the MMA Hour.

Conor McGregor celebrates winning 12/11/2016

“My goal in front of me is to become a two-division champ and the interim title is not enough so whether it’s Aldo or Conor, I don’t really care. That’s my goal and after that I’ll figure out what I need to do to finish my legacy in the sport.”

The decision to shuffle around the belt-holders at featherweight has come in for some criticism from fight fans and so too has the fact that Pettis is fighting for the title despite competing at 145lbs on just one occasion previously and, prior to that fight, had lost three on the bounce.

But the 29-year-old has a logical response to those ridiculing his interim title fight.

“Look at my previous fights!” Pettis said.

UFC 181 - Pettis v Melendez

“I’ve fought the who’s who at 155lbs. I fought the former champion and I’m what the [featherweight] division needs right now.

“Max Holloway is a great competitor and a good fighter but he’s already lost to Conor McGregor. Jose Aldo lost to Conor McGregor. I go in there and I’m a fresh face.

“Whether it’s McGregor, Aldo or Holloway, I haven’t fought any of these guys. It’s a plus for the division.”

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