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Pettengill returns for Gladiators Print E-mail
Written by Ben Pherson   
Tuesday, 26 January 2010 23:05

Rochester’s Eric Pettengill is set for his second official mixed martial arts fight on Saturday as part of “Gladiators,” an event being promoted by Kathy’s Pub in Rochester.

Pettengill made his MMA debut nearly two years ago, but he’s been away from the fight game since then (he had one unofficial fight that isn't included on his record). He recently resumed training, and he’s working with Logan Clark at Rochester MMA.

Pettengill (0-1) was a standout high school wrestler in Iowa. His wrestling background made for an easy transition to MMA.

Pettengill, who is currently retaining his amateur status, will meet up with fellow amateur Jeremy Gabel, who also is a former Iowa high school wrestler, on Saturday at Gladiators.

We caught up with Pettengill on Tuesday to speak with him about his upcoming fight.

So Eric, you’re fighting Jeremy Gabel. What do you know about him?

Pettengill: He’s a pure wrestler. Other than that, I don’t know much. I know he’s not very experienced. But for me, it really doesn’t matter. Whoever I’m fighting, I’m going to do what I do. If he wants to wrestle me, great. I’m good with that. If he wants to stand up, I’m fine with that, too. I’m comfortable everywhere.


You lost your first MMA fight. Tell us about that one ... what went wrong?

Pettengill: It was in Chicago, it was outdoors and it was 100 degrees that day. I really lost that fight because I ran out of gas. I wasn’t in good enough shape. It was three rounds, five minutes each in that heat, so I guess it makes sense I got tired. It was a really good fight, a war against a good guy.

So you’ve been away from the fight game for almost two years. Why did you take the time off?

Pettengill: My last job didn’t like me fighting. After the Chicago fight, they basically said that if you show up to work with a black eye again, you either take time off and let it heal up, or you don’t show up to work here any more. So work had to come first at that point. But I found a new job now, and I got everything OK’d with them, so we’re giving it a go again.

Did you lose anything during your time off? Or did you techniques come back to you quickly?

Pettengill: Well, it was enough time off for me to get out of shape. But everything is coming back to me. I was always a good wrestler, so that’s still there. I’m just learning to be better at standup, and I’m still working on some of the basics. But really, it’s like riding a bike. You don’t forget most of the stuff.

How did you get started in MMA?

Pettengill: I went to a show down in Iowa, and it wasn’t even really MMA, it was more the Toughman stuff. They were pulling people out of the crowd, and I was just like, ‘I can do better than those people.’ I tried it out a little bit, and it just took off from there.

How is working with Logan Clark at Rochester MMA?

Pettengill: It’s great. Logan’s a cool guy. Everybody we work out with is pretty solid. It’s a rough-and-tumble group, but I like it a lot. I’ve learned a lot.

You still have your amateur status now. Are you going to stay amateur for a while or do you plan to turn pro soon?

Pettengill: I’m in no hurry. The more fights you have under your belt as an amateur, the better. I know it’s not quite the same striking, but once I get a few more fights as an amateur and feel comfortable, I’ll turn pro. I just wanted to be sure, because there’s no going back. Once you turn pro, you’re pro. Everything counts.

Right now this is just a hobby for you. Do you one do hope to make a career of it?

Pettengill: If it becomes more than a hobby, great. Right now, it’s not paying anything, so I have to have my job be No. 1. But if I progress and things go well, yeah, that would be great.

Saturday marks the big day of your return. Do you have a game plan against Gabel? Is there anything you’re hoping to work on?

Pettengill: My jiu-jitsu stuff could be better. I need to work on more submissions. I have good takedowns and ground-and-pound, and my standup is coming along. I’m really feeling comfortable all over, so I don’t have a set game plan. We’ll see how it goes. I’d like to stand for a while and test my standup, but my crutch is always my wrestling. When other stuff fails, I fall back on that.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 10:01