While the combat sports world was turned upside down, as was the entire world in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it did allow for some people, and athletes, to thrive under the difficult circumstances. One of those athletes who thrived and took advantage of the opportunities presented to him was Clay Collard, a former UFC fighter who turned into a professional boxer, while also staying focused on his mixed martial arts career.
Collard saw a very successful and busy 2020 where he went 5-1 in his boxing career, picking up the nickname “zero snatcher” and labeled as a “prospect killer” for defeating young upcoming fighters. Now that the calendar has turned to 2021, Collard turns the page towards a new challenge as he begins his stint with the PFL, and he’ll welcome a former champion to the cage in the first fight of the season.
Clay Collard will meet former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis on April 23 to begin PFL’s 2021 season and their lightweight tournament, with the winner of the tournament walking away with a $1 million grand prize. Collard recently was a guest on On The Mic Podcast for MyMMANews and discussed Pettis’s decision to join the PFL, and what he brings to the promotion that continues to add big names in the sport.
“I mean the dude has had an epic career so far, he’s won multiple belts, he’s done things in the fight game that nobody else has been able to do,” Collard said. “From jumping off the cage and kicking people in the face to moving to different weight classes, you know? He’s a guy I grew up watching, he has about a billion followers, people that support him and are rooting for him. Signing a guy like him just elevates the PFL that much more. I respect the guy, he’s done a lot for the sport and done a lot in the sport.”
When it comes to fighting Pettis, Collard said he wanted to fight either Pettis or 2019 PFL lightweight champion Natan Schulte.
“As far as fighting him goes, I wanted either him or the champ [Schulte] first when I heard he signed. That’s just the type of person I am, I don’t want the easy fight, I want the toughest fight I can get into. That’s why I do this. I’m ready to bring it.”
Clay Collard enjoyed a 2020 where he put down a lot of boxing prospects, but in 2021 he has a new task ahead of him with the PFL, and it begins with taking down one of the most recognizable names in the sport in Pettis. According to Collard, however, that’s everything he wants and worked for throughout his career.
“That’s all I’m going for, that’s everything I’m working for, to boost myself up. He’s a veteran in the sport, he’s very talented, has a very high fight IQ, and I’m ready for him to bring it, and I’m ready to bring it. I think it’s very smart on the promotional side, because I think this is going to be one of the most exciting martial arts fights, to date.”
It won’t be a simple task for Clay Collard to welcome Pettis inside the PFL cage, but it’s one he’s been looking forward to, and if he can continue to ride off the momentum built in 2020, he could turn some heads on April 23 when the PFL’s 2021 season begins.