Duke Roufus: Anthony Pettis win over Nate Diaz at UFC 241 will get Conor McGregor's attention

Anthony Pettis is in the midst of a career resurgence and Duke Roufus believes there are only big things ahead for his star pupil.

Roufus thinks should Pettis get past Nate Diaz this Saturday at UFC 241, he’ll get a certain Irish superstar’s attention.

“That other fight that’s looming out there I think that’s going to pique a lot of interest when Anthony does the business Saturday, I see him and Conor McGregor being on a collision course,” Roufus said on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.” “I think it’s definitely going to get Conor’s attention when Anthony beats a guy that beat him and another guy that he won by close decision – especially if Anthony does what I think he’s capable of doing and stopping Nate Diaz.”

Pettis (22-8 MMA, 9-7 UFC) is coming off a spectacular second round knockout of Stephen Thompson at March’s UFC on ESPN+ 6 in his welterweight debut, becoming the first man to ever finish “Wonderboy.” He will now look to finish the durable Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC), who has only been taken out due to strikes once in his 30-fight pro MMA career.

Roufus has been by Pettis’ side through all the ups and downs – ups that include a “Showtime kick” in a fight where he secured the WEC lightweight title with a win over Benson Henderson, and later a hometown first-round submission win, defeating “Smooth” once again to become the UFC lightweight champion.

The accolades landed Pettis on the cover of a Wheaties box, becoming the first MMA fighter to ever grace the cover. Roufus sees similarities in Pettis and McGregor’s rise, dubbing Pettis as the original superstar.

“I think Anthony’s trying to get those big challenges on the way out the door of his career,” Roufus said. “Anthony was the Conor before Conor was Conor, the kid with the flashy suits, the look, the style, the pizazz, and he could fight like that, so it would be the makings of quite the super fight.”

But they know that they have a big challenge ahead of them come Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Both Pettis and Diaz have a had a little history of bad blood in the past, but their paths haven’t crossed until now.

Roufus says that matchup has Pettis more motivated than ever before.

“This is a special one,” Roufus said. “I’ve got to tell you, I want to thank Nate Diaz for bringing out the best in ‘Showtime.’ Thank you very much Nate, I appreciate that. This has been the best training camp of our career, and we’ve had some special ones when he beat Benson Henderson, when he destroyed Donald Cerrone, when he destroyed Joe Lauzon. He’s that guy again.”

It’s a little personal for Pettis, who isn’t usually the type to go back and forth with his opponent, but this fight has been years in the making.

“For years, Nate’s just attacked him, not only verbally, but even in a nightclub,” Roufus said. “They tried to jump him, him and Nick. It gets to a point where stuff just boils over. I mean, I get the perspective of where Anthony is coming from.”

Plagued with injuries in the past, Roufus says Pettis is the healthiest he’s been in a long time. No longer making the cut down to 155 – or even 145 pounds – Roufus assures us we’ll see a very dangerous Pettis come Saturday.

“We’ve had a lot of bad times, bad injuries, different things that set him off course,” Roufus said. “He’s gotten very healthy. He’s 100 percent healthy again, back in ‘Next Level,’ where J. J. Watt was manufactured.

“Anthony Pettis is a dangerous man when he’s healthy, to be able to do strength and conditioning along with his training. He’s very innovative for this fight, creative, a lot of fun and just about that life, ready to do the business Saturday night.”

3 days ago

Your Ad could be here please email () us for the details.

email us »

Latest news in MMA

Friends Devonte Smith, Khama Worthy wrap brains around fighting each other at UFC 241
51 minutes ago
11 times Nate Diaz gave zero (expletives)
1 hour ago
UFC 241 play-by-play and live results (6:15 p.m. ET)
2 hours ago
UFC 241 discussion thread
2 hours ago
Video: Watch UFC 241 post-event press conference on MMA Junkie
2 hours ago
UFC 241 live streaming commentary with MMA Junkie Radio on SportsCastr
5 hours ago
UFC 241 preview with Chael Sonnen: What to expect from Cormier-Miocic, Diaz-Pettis, more
9 hours ago
Ex-UFC champ Cody Garbrandt schedules surgery, sidelined until early 2020
10 hours ago
UFC 241 breakdown: Can Paulo Costa earn a career-making win over Yoel Romero?
10 hours ago
Israel Adesanya on road to gold: From sitting in nose bleeds to making noses bleed
11 hours ago
Dual UFC champ Henry Cejudo adds Jose Aldo to hit list, teases next fight announcement
11 hours ago
UFC 241 weigh-ins faceoffs video highlights, photos
12 hours ago
Photos: UFC 241 ceremonial weigh-ins
13 hours ago
Nate Diaz in one word: What UFC fighters think of Stockton's finest
13 hours ago
Dana Cam reveals intense UFC 241 staredowns
13 hours ago
UFC 241 weigh-ins faceoff: Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz finally across from each other
14 hours ago
UFC 241 weigh-ins faceoff: Daniel Cormier, Stipe Miocic get up close
14 hours ago
Eager to return, Anthony Smith dishes on Corey Anderson, Jon Jones and Chris Weidman
15 hours ago
Brandon Davis hesitated on taking UFC 241 fight due to California's rehydration rules
16 hours ago
Survey says: Bader, Macfarlane, Woodley among fighters on upcoming 'Celebrity Family Feud'
17 hours ago