Clay Collard hopes he convinced the MMA world that he's a fighter to watch by upsetting former UFC champion Anthony Pettis in the PFL 1 main event last week.
As high as a 4-1 underdog for the clash, "Cassius" clearly had the edge on Pettis in the striking department. He left the cage with a unanimous decision win and three points in the PFL lightweight tournament.
Looking at his performance and the fact he was such a big underdog, Collard believes people underestimated him against Pettis. And he was happy to prove them wrong.
"I took a two-year break from mixed martial arts. People haven't seen me in a while," Collard told theScore. "I guess they don't really know what I'm about and what I've been working on and where I'm at in life. ... But that's why we do this - so we can prove them all wrong."
"I'm a dangerous man," he added. "I hope I gained some believers in me."
Collard rocked Pettis twice in the second round and nearly secured a finish with ground-and-pound. But the referee gave Pettis every opportunity to continue, and the former UFC champ made it to the end of the fight.
Collard said he was hoping the referee would step in, but he was fine with the official's decision not to wave off the fight.
"I'm a fighter, so I want the referee to give me every single chance I have to keep fighting," Collard said. "I'm sure some refs maybe could've jumped in, but that ref didn't. (Pettis) came out that next round and he kept fighting, so it was a good call in my opinion."
Pettis' best round was the third, as the 34-year-old appeared to hurt Collard with a head kick and a knee in the final minute of the fight. Collard said he felt the strikes, of course, but he wasn't badly hurt.
"I was still present the entire time," Collard said. "I took most of that kick on my arm. It still caught me in the neck a little bit, but for the most part, I snuck my hand in there just enough that it didn't put me out cold."
Many people consider this Collard's biggest win to date, but he's hesitant to call it that. He's also not focused on what beating a former UFC champ means for his career. All Collard is thinking about is winning the PFL lightweight title and the $1-million grand prize at the end of the year.
"Right now, I just beat somebody up in a fight - it doesn't really mean too much," Collard said. "But as soon as I get that strap, that strap means something."
Before last week's bout, Pettis told theScore he had aspirations of becoming the face of the PFL. Collard thinks he could take that spot now that he's beaten "Showtime."
"I've believed that I'm the poster boy since Day 1," Collard said. "I'm pretty - not many people have a beard this good looking. I'd love to be the face (of the PFL). That's what I'm about."