Anthony Pettis has admitted that losing his lightweight title to Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 185 in March last year was a tough pill to swallow.
However, the defeat also caused Pettis to make a number of changes to his game and his mental preparation in particular.
Pettis, who lost to Dos Anjos via unanimous decision, now hopes to bounce back and earn another title shot when he takes on Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 81 on Sunday.
“There was so much I learned in my last fight, but I think it was more my mental preparation,” Pettis told reporters on Thursday. “Losing that last fight, my mindset was off going into the fight. I went in there thinking about the results and what’s going to happen after the fight.
“I didn’t focus on the training camp and that fight. So, I got back to the grassroots. I fired a lot of people on my team, no more publicists, no more nutritionists. I’m doing everything on my own to what got me to that position. I feel like I’m more hungry and motivated that way.”
Speaking about his upcoming fight with Alvarez, Pettis is confident of emerging victorious so long as he keeps striking the 32-year-old and avoiding his strengths, which are his wrestling background and heavy punches.
“Alvarez gets hit a lot. Every UFC fight he gets hit a lot,” Pettis said. “The (Donald) Cerrone fight, low kicks were a factor and he couldn’t walk, barely. In the (Gilbert) Melendez fight he had both eyes closed pretty much, but he’s a warrior and he doesn’t stop coming.
“I feel like if I can capitalize on my strikes and make sure I stay away from his strengths – his wrestling, his big power punches – I should have an easy time winning this fight.”