rewrite this title Anthony Pettis responds to Mike Perry’s BKFC callout, open to negotiations: ‘That’s a different level of barbaric fighting’

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Anthony Pettis scored an upset victory over Roy Jones Jr. in boxing in April and now returns to face Benson Henderson at Karate Combat 43 in Las Vegas on Dec. 15. From MMA to boxing to Karate Combat to bare-knuckle boxing, “Showtime” likes to keep his options open for whatever is most profitable in 2024.

Pettis told MMA Fighting that his Karate Combat pay is “very similar” to what he’s made in previous bouts in MMA and boxing, and the possibility of signing with BKFC after getting called out by fellow UFC fighter Mike Perry depends on the offer that’s on the table.

“I’m a prizefighter,” Pettis said. “Like, that’s barbaric, bro. That bare-knuckle stuff is a different level of fighting. I don’t wanna say it’s all about money. For me it’s about legacy, too. The fights I’m taking, even in boxing, like, Roy Jones Jr. is a legend, bro. When I got that opportunity, I couldn’t say no to that even though he’s older. What he’s done in boxing, he’s a legend. He’s cemented in boxing history.

“Mike Perry, what he’s doing in bare-knuckle, he’s brutal, he’s a monster, man. That’s a different level of barbaric fighting. I would have to have the negotiations. I haven’t even talked to those guys at all, I don’t even know what the structure is or how it works over there. But right now I’m very focused on Karate Combat. I’m in fight week now. Go handle business over in Karate Combat, then I’ll see what pops up after.”

Pettis is still under contract with the PFL but confirmed he will not be part of the regular season in 2024, explaining that the tournament format “was way too hard on my body.”

“I just felt like the tournaments are more for a younger guys, guys that are trying to make their way in and you have a chance at a million dollars,” Pettis said. “But for where I’m at in my career, I gotta do my fights when I’m healthy, when I’m ready to fight, take my time off, and I think I’ve earned that right.”

The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion said he likes Cédric Doumbé for his next opponent when he returns to the PFL cage but wonders if the organization wants to build Doumbé up before pairing him up against an MMA veteran.

“I’m a fan of his,” Pettis said. “I love what he’s done in the kickboxing world, he’s made a great name for himself, he has a lot of fans, so I think those kinds of fights are what excites me. I gotta have fights exciting fights that make me train that, two sides. I don’t wanna like have one guy being the A side. So, yeah, I think that Cédric Doumbé would be a great fight. I mean, there’s so many good guys in Bellator, it’s just hard to pick.”

“Cédric Doumbé is very new at mixed martial arts, you know, maybe they want to build him up as well. I don’t know if they want to test him that quick, but, you know, I’m open for it, so if that fight does come to fruition, I definitely would take that fight.”

As for his next assignment in boxing, Pettis revealed he will likely be back in the ring in February against a name he can’t reveal just yet, and that he plans on staying active in that sport.

“I will compete three times next year in boxing,” Pettis said. “I just finished a sparring session with [Erislandy] Lara, one of the best southpaws in the world, Cuban guy, and I can hold my own in the boxing world. I think next year I’ll probably have three or four fights inside boxing.”

Even though Pettis wants to build his career in boxing, he doesn’t rule out facing influencers or fellow MMA veterans in the squared circle if the offer makes sense for him.

“Wherever I get the most money, whether it’s a current boxer — and I would love to fight a current boxer just to prove that I can box,” Pettis said. “But, you know, like I said, I’m a prizefighter, so the opportunities come in, I look at it with my wife, I decide which way do we wanna go. But I would like to build my boxing résumé up, so I’m gonna take some real boxer fights.

“If one of the influencers wanna box, of course I would be open for that because I’m only 1-0 as a pro, against Roy Jones Jr. at 200 pounds. So like, you know, it’s a weird place to be, but I know the opportunities are out there and I’m ready. I’m in great shape, so that’s when Karate Combat came up. I was already getting ready for a boxing fight so it just made sense. It’s in my new hometown, Las Vegas, Nevada, against a guy that I have history with.”

Fellow MMA legend Jose Aldo, who was once slated to face Pettis in a UFC championship bout in Rio de Janeiro, has competed in boxing after retiring from MMA. “Showtime” approves of the idea.

“Honestly, Jose Aldo is a legend, bro,” Pettis said. “That’s one of those guys that I would love to fight. All respect to Jose Aldo, what he did in his career, he deserves to get his payday too, man. If that came up, that’d be a name, I would love to fight.”

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