You’re a third-degree black belt in taekwondo. Do you still work those techniques?
I teach taekwondo, so I still review the basics and stuff. I’m working on getting my fourth degree. Eventually, I want to run a taekwondo school. That’s my goal—taekwondo mixed with an MMA gym.
Outside of your camp, what fighters do you look up to?
GSP for sure. When I first started, he was just an up-and-comer, and nobody knew who he was, and now look at him. I definitely look up to him and guys like Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida—traditional martial artists.
Do you consider yourself a traditional martial artist?
I’m definitely a traditional martial artist first and a mixed martial artist second.
Is the nickname “Showtime” hard to live up to?
It’s not a lot to live up to. “Showtime” is because I fight flashy. It’s not like an alternate personality. It just happens to be how I fight. It’s hard to explain to family and friends—it’s not a split personality. It’s a nickname in the cage and that’s it. Out of the cage, I’m still Anthony Pettis.
Do you consider yourself part of the new wave of mixed martial artists like Evan Dunham and Ryan Bader—fighters that have made an immediate impact?
My goal is to become the complete fighter. MMA is still a new sport, but a few of the fighters are fighting everywhere—good jiu jitsu, good grappling, good striking. Honestly, my little brother is the reason why I’m trying to keep up with everything. He’s wrestling in high school, his kickboxing is great, and his jiu-jitsu is good. Soon, I’ll be fighting guys who have been wrestling and striking their whole lives. That’s where it’s headed.
What does family mean to you in regards to your MMA career?
Family means everything. Family comes before any of this. If it ever came down to family and quitting mixed martial arts, I’d always put family first. Family is a big reason why I’m doing this. We grew up in a rough neighborhood. There wasn’t much for us to look up to. We didn’t have a lot of family members graduating college and having good professions. Most are regular workers making hourly wages. MMA is a way we can separate ourselves from that and do something we love doing. My brother looks up to me. I want to be his role model. He’s a big reason that I train as hard as I do and put everything I put into this.
Who beats you up the most in sparring?
UFC fighter Erik Koch is your roommate. What’s his worst roommate habit?
I’m not gonna put him on blast, but I’ll give you one. We have this George Foreman grill. I use it for all my chicken and all my food when I diet. He never cleans it after he’s done using it, so every time I go to use it, it’s all crusty and nasty.
What sport would you say you are absolutely terrible at?
Soccer. I suck at soccer. Even in high school, they said, ‘This Hispanic kid should play soccer,’ but I had no coordination in my feet or something—man, I suck at soccer!
When did you realize MMA was something you were good at?
I had my first amateur fight on my 20th birthday, and I finished the fight in 24seconds.
What country would you like to fight in?
It’s not a different country, but I’d like to fight in Puerto Rico. I’m half Puerto Rican and Mexican, so Puerto Rico would be a great place to go. There are a lot of Puerto Rican fans blowing up my Facebook, asking when I’m going to be fighting there.
You Milwaukee boys are known for your Miller Lite. What’s your favorite beer?
I don’t drink a lot of beer, but I like a Blue Moon every now and then.
Tell ya what, I’ll buy you a Blue Moon if you take me to Puerto Rico.
Thanks Anthony. We look forward to the next time it’s Showtime.