Anthony Pettis has risen to the top of MMA lightweight ranks. His mix of athleticism, stamina, creativity and well-rounded skill set is tough to beat. The sick part is that he's just 24 years old.
He's got the life experience of someone much older. That comes with training and staying dedicated for 14 professional fights.
It also happens when you have to survive the gruesome murder of your father at 15 years old. Pettis' father, Eugene was knifed down during a robbery gone bad. Anthony had to become a father figure for his then 8-year-old brother Sergio (pictured in the black shirt) along with staying on track to follow his fighting dream.
It's gone off with few hitches publicly and that includes the father figure part. His brother Sergio, now 17, is the spitting image of Anthony.
"I didn't even understand completely what happened," Sergio said referencing his father's death. "But as I grew older with all my friends at wrestling meets, their fathers were there and it was kind of depressing. But my brother Anthony was there, so it was alright."
Sergio's accompanied Anthony to Las Vegas to help him prepare for his lightweight showdown tomorrow night against Clay Guida in the main of the "Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale."
The younger Pettis is mature beyond his years, focused and incredibly poised for a teenager. He's even an amateur MMA fighter with plans set to turn pro when he turns 18. That's right Sergio is already in there fighting men while he's still a high school student.
"He was my main training partner for Guida," Pettis told "The MMA Insiders" show on ESPN1100 in Las Vegas. "He's already better than me in wrestling."
Anthony says the future is bright for his little bro.
"I guarantee my brother makes a big move in the sport," Pettis said. "Right now, it's my time but he's going to be 18 pretty soon and hopefully we will both be fighting on the same card sometime pretty soon."
Sergio just graduated high school, and shortly after his birthday in August, he'll make his pro debut in September.� The kid even speaks about his future career like he's a veteran.
"I've got a big name already with Pettis. That last name means I've got to live up to the hype he's had," Sergio said. "I've got high expectations, but I feel like I can reach them because of my training with him."
Let's allow Sergio to develop his career slowly,but Anthony doesn't have that luxury. All the pressure is on Pettis tomorrow night. He's a minus-170 favorite against a guy with 13 UFC and 39 overall fights under his belt. Guida feels disrespected a bit and wants to derail Pettis from getting his shot at the winner of Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard.