MILWAUKEE -- Anthony "Showtime" Pettis is an MMA sensation. The fighter from the southside of Milwaukee takes his talents to Japan on Saturday night for UFC 144, but he's not the only Pettis making noise in mixed martial arts.
Anthony Pettis has a lot to be proud of: a lot of wins, a lot of fame and a lot on his plate. The Milwaukee native's mixed martial arts career is soaring, and yet the 25-year-old finds himself paying a lot of attention to another fighter. "Everybody is talking about him now. I was in that spot, so I know how it is and he's good. He's really good," Anthony said.
He is 18-year-old Sergio Pettis - Anthony's younger brother. The two train together at Roufusport in Wauwatosa. "Obviously I want to do what he's doing and have as much success as he has had," Sergio said.
The success hasn't been without the sadness. The boys' father passed away seven years ago. "It's hard because obviously, you don't have a father-figure there, so Anthony kinda plays that roll as my father-figure," Sergio said.
"Just being the best man I could be. I knew my little brother was looking up to me, so I had to give him a vision of a way of living. I could have chosen a bad way. I decided this is what I was going to do, and I stuck with it," Anthony said.
Anthony stuck with it, and soared as a shining example for Sergio. Following a family member down a career path brings challenges and critics. "There's positive hype and there's negative hype. There's a lot of people that say that my name is the only reason I'm getting far in my career," Sergio said.
Anthony and Sergio's trainer, Duke Roufus has been where they've been, and it's been his call to take it slow with the younger Pettis, since it's not a matter of IF Sergio makes it to the UFC but when. "Do opportunities come a little quicker, yeah, but at the end of the day, when you get the opportunity, you've still got to win. I know when I see greatness and he's got it," Roufus said.
"There's this special thing about him. He just knows what he's doing, and he can just see everything coming at him. I like talking about it because it's crazy how good he is at his age," Anthony said.
Anthony passes on advice, imploring his kid brother to fall in love with training, so the fights seem easy. "It's putting your body through the worst. You've got to go through the worst to be the best," Anthony said.
Anthony also says it's important to avoid the temptation that fame brings. Anthony has a lot going on, but he says he'll continue to be there as Sergio continues his climb. "It's something they can share together. When one guy's down, another can pick him up, because it's an emotional sport," Roufus said.
After all, the family that kicks together, sticks together. "I love it. This is the lifestyle. I'm doing what I love to do, and getting paid for it," Sergio said.
Sergio Pettis will debut as a flyweight on May 4th at the North American Fighting Championship in Milwaukee.