Pettis talks UFC 164, BJ Penn - KMSP-TV

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Pettis talks UFC 164, BJ Penn

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In advance of his lightweight title fight at UFC 164, Anthony Pettis spoke with Cage Talk host James Koh about his now legendary "Ninja Kick" and about whether he would welcome back the man many consider the best lightweight champion of all time in BJ Penn.

Pettis also talks about his often rocky upbringing in the south side of Milwaukee.

"BJ Penn is a legend, I look up to BJ Penn, he's one of the greatest of all time and BJ Penn can go wherever he pleases," Pettis said when asked about if he thinks Penn should return to action.

But Pettis said admiration aside, he wouldn't sidestep a fight with the UFC legend but also added that Penn would have to earn a title shot like everyone else.

"My goal is to be the best 155'er in the world and if he comes down to 55, if it comes down to fighting for the belt, I'd fight him," Pettis said.  "I don't think he would get an automatic title shot, there's too many guys in line, this division is stacked.  The 155 pound division is the most stacked division in the UFC."

Pettis also explains the genesis of his "Ninja Kick" where he leapt off the cage and landed a clean kick to Benson Henderson jaw in his lightweight title fight while in the WEC.

"The kick itself comes from Tae Kwon Do, when I was a young kid we used to jump off walls and break boards for demos," Pettis said.  "I was playing around in the cage, sparring my little brother, Duke liked it, my coach, and just perfected it to throw it in a fight."

"I'm very versatile out there I'm one of those guys, I don't like to have any limits," Pettis continued.  "For me I just like to out there and react, I don't go in there with game plans, if I see openings I take them."

Pettis also opened up about his rough childhood.

"I grew up with drugs and gangs and all that surrounding me," Pettis said.  "I lost my dad a block away from my house so I was faced with a lot of trials and tribulations as a kid.  It's something that I'm proud of to make it where I'm at.  I give credit to my mom, my mom was the rock of our family and she's the one that kept me on track."

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