Whether it’s because of the momentum he’s built for himself on the regional scene, his fighting style, or simply his look, Andre Petroski has gained quite the fanbase in his MMA career so far.
That all has led him to a selection for the 29th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and he looks to potentially be a favorite for the middleweight portion of the tournament.
Petroski has combat in his blood; his father was a wrestler at Penn State University and ran a karate gym. He’d follow along in his dad’s footsteps, wrestling throughout high school and college. Petroski had a decent collegiate wrestling career, going on to be a national qualifier while at Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
Even though his foundation is in wrestling, the 29-year-old watched the UFC growing up and had a focus on MMA, picking the sport up as a passion. While his family wanted him to focus on wrestling first, and some even tried to talk him out of a fighting career, Petroski said his parents knew of what he wanted deep down inside.
“I knew even while I wrestled that I wanted to fight,” Petroski said in a pre-show interview. “I was born to do this.”
Petroski previously trained at Factory X before finding a home with Renzo Gracie Philly, training under Daniel Gracie alongside the likes of Sean Brady, Jeremiah Wells and Joe Pyfer.
Petroski competed as an amateur for about two years, going 7-1 and mostly competing for Art of War Cage Fighting.
Art of War is also where Petroski began his professional career, making his pro debut in October 2018. He won all five of his first five professional fights, all of which were in Art of War.
All of those wins came by a finish — three by KO/TKO and two by submission — with the first three finishes coming in the first round. Petroski hasn’t reached the third round in any of his wins.
In fact, Petroski hasn’t reached the third round in any fight, period. He most recently fought in the main event of LFA 93 in October, getting finished late in the second round by CFFC Middleweight Champion (and “Dana White’s Contender Series” participant) Aaron Jeffrey (10-2).
In addition to his wrestling, Petroski is skilled in jiu-jitsu and submissions, and he’s got some power in his hands ready if he needs to bring them out.
“I break guys with good striking,” Petroski told UFC.com. “I hit the body hard, I take guys down and I put them in positions where they feel helpless. I think I just have that winning spirit and that competitive spirit that people are drawn to, and that people like to watch.”
Additionally, Petroski told the MMA media at his pre-show interview that he feels the TUF environment is well-suited for him, citing his experience with having to constantly be on weight for tournaments during his wrestling upbringing.
With his skillsets and background, Petroski truly will be one to watch in the TUF house.
“That format is where I excel,” Petroski said. “When I’m active, that’s when I compete the best.”