Anthony Pettis excited to ‘jump off’ Karate Combat pit vs. Benson Henderson

Anthony Pettis will try and recreate his infamous “Showtime Kick” when he makes his Karate Combat debut.

Pettis meets familiar foe Benson Henderson in the main event of Karate Combat 43 on Dec. 15 at the Expo at World Trade Market in Las Vegas, marking their third combat sports encounter.

Pettis defeated Henderson twice in title fights – once in WEC where he landed the “Showtime Kick,” and the other by submission to capture the UFC lightweight title.

“He’s not an easy opponent, bro,” Pettis told MMA Junkie. “We fought twice already. The first fight was such a close fight. Even standing, striking. The ground portion was a very close fight. Second fight I obviously had my success with the body kicks, but Ben’s a competitor. Nothing but respect for that dude. We’ve been doing this for 10-years-plus now each, and he’s still competing at the highest level.

“I know he’s coming to bring it. Obviously he has something to prove. Every time that ‘Showtime’ Kick – they basically made that promo off the ‘Showtime’ Kick. I heard the pit was designed off that, the Karate Combat pit. So I’m sure Ben is going to try to go out there and even the score up. So I’ll be ready for whatever he brings.”

Pettis also used the cage to his advantage when he became the first man to knock out Stephen Thompson, landing a perfect Superman punch to shut his lights out.

“I feel like offensively I’m going to be able to use it to my advantage,” Pettis said. “I’ll be able to jump off that thing. I’ll be able to climb up it, move around it. So I’m going to be able to have some fun with that.”

With the Karate Combat ruleset involving striking only, Pettis expects to shine against Henderson.

“I am a lifelong martial artist,” Pettis said. “This is something I’ve done forever. I come from a point sparring background, so I feel like this favors me definitely. Having the ability to throw any strike I want without having to worry about getting taken down or getting pressed against the fence. If you watch our first couple fights, a lot of his success came from that.

“Pushing me against the fence, holding me on the fence. Doing some moves I’ve never seen before on the fence, but he won’t have that opportunity this one round. That’s why I said yes to this. It plays well into what I’ve done my whole life.” I think he definitely wants to win and with these rule set, we’ve got three-minute rounds. I’ve just got to be on my game the whole time.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie