Anthony Pettis teases even bigger boxing match awaiting him ‘as long as I go f*ck up Chris Avila on July 6’

Anthony Pettis may not have a lot of time left in MMA but his combat sports career isn’t slowing down any time soon.

The former UFC lightweight champion, who faces Nate Diaz disciple Chris Avila on Saturday, has made it clear that he’s only returning to MMA for the right opportunities while putting most of his attention on his burgeoning boxing career. Pettis is expected to face former kickboxing star Cedric Doumbe later this year in the PFL but first he has his showdown with Avila, and then there’s a potential fight awaiting him against an even bigger name from the sport of boxing.

“I’m trying to stay busy boxing,” Pettis told MMA Fighting. “I’ve got this July 6 boxing fight and then I have another pretty big name that’s an opportunity in boxing as long as I go f*ck up Avila on July 6.”

“My next fight after this one, a boxer currently competing in boxing and ranked. There’s already a name in mind. I have to go be impressive and then there’s a name in mind.”

Pettis couldn’t reveal the potential opponent because he has to deal with Avila first before he can start planning on future fights.

His boxing match on Saturday as part of the card headlined by Diaz against Jorge Masvidal comes over a year after he pulled off a surprising upset against former pound-for-pound king Roy Jones Jr. in his pro debut.

Of course, Jones at 54 wasn’t the same fighter as the dynamic boxer who tore through multiple weight classes during his peak in the early 2000s but it still wasn’t a fight Pettis was expected to win. He admits that there was a certain strategy he had to employ in that fight because age aside, Jones was still a dangerous opponent with plenty of pop left in his hands.

This time around, however, Pettis doesn’t feel like he’s facing nearly the same level of risk, which is why he’s predicting an emphatic finish over Avila.

“This one, I want to knock him out,” Pettis said. “With Roy Jones, I knew I had to go out there and out point him. He’s smart. Because he just fought Mike Tyson. I wasn’t going to go and just throw a right hand and knock his ass out.

“But Avila, he’s knockoutable, if that’s a word. I feel like he gets hit a lot. He hasn’t fought a guy like me and I think he’s underestimating my boxing skills. He thinks I’m an MMA boxer.”

Since becoming a full-time boxer, Avila has been impressive with five wins in a row but Pettis expects he’ll have the chance to shine in this fight.

He’s been working tirelessly on his boxing over the past few years since his MMA career has slowed down, although he’s excited to show off how much his hands have improved when he eventually returns to the PFL for that matchup with Doumbe.

“I’ve always had a love for boxing but I could never just focus on the hands because of MMA,” Pettis explained. “My kicks were always my strength. I think when I come back to MMA, I’ll surprise everybody with how good my hands have gotten, my inside game and just shit I’ve picked up just using my hands for the last two years.”

Boxing may be his priority now but Pettis expects that he’ll still entertain offers in MMA just like when the PFL came calling with the chance to face Doumbe later this year.

If all goes well on Saturday, Pettis plans to fight Doumbe in September and then hopefully reveal the notable name he’s planning to face in boxing before 2024 comes to a close.

“I’m not done in MMA,” Pettis said. “I’ll probably do a couple more fights, a couple more years of MMA fights. I don’t think I’m going to chase a belt but the right fights, the right people, the right opponent, yes, I’m definitely still game.”

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