Anthony Pettis was known for his dynamic striking skills long before ripping the lightweight title away from Ben Henderson Thursday night at WEC 53. However, “Showtime” took his creativity to a whole new level when he dropped the former champ with a never-before-seen kick.
“He was checking all my low kicks and I couldn’t get off. He kept stopping me at one or two punches. I thought I had to do something out-of-the-box and see what happens,” Pettis said at the post-fight press conference. “The biggest thing going through my mind was, ‘Go for it.’ I was thinking I needed to do something to land.
“I had to throw [the unorthodox kick] and try to get off. If I wouldn’t have landed it, I would have tried to follow up with something. Luckily for me, the kick landed and it was an impressive kick.”
You can say that again. In fact, you can see it again right HERE.
The 155-pounders seesawed back and forth for the better part of four rounds, leading many to believe the score was knotted up at two apiece entering the 5thRound. Oddly, the challenger had no idea what time it was and quickly realized he had plenty left in the tank to close out the biggest fight of his career.
“I thought we were going into the 4thRound,” Pettis admitted. “I asked my corner, ‘We’ve got two more rounds?’ They said, ‘No, this is the last one.’ I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to give it everything I’ve got in this last round.’
“I came with some crazy stuff and it paid off.”
Pettis’ “Showtime Kick” wasn’t just worth its weight in Octagon gold, but he has gone down in mixed martial arts lore with his impromptu strike. What makes the shot even more spectacular was the fact the title was still hanging in the balance. It wasn’t as though Pettis attempted the kick in the fight’s opening ticks.
It was crunch time and that’s what the up-and-comer pulled out of his magic hat. Not too shabby for a 23-year-old.