It seems things are about to get interesting at Milwaukee's Roufusport gym, with head coach Duke Roufus claiming he’ll be impersonating Anthony Pettis’ next opponent, Nate Diaz, ahead of their fight at UFC 241 in August.
Pettis has said his fight against the Stockton, California native Diaz is personal and actively sought out the bout after issues between the pair arose following Pettis’ fight with Gilbert Melendez who is a close friend and training partner of Diaz.
Roufus appeared on a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s “The MMA Hour” and said he’ll be employing some tactics he’s used in the past to prepare his fighter mentally for Diaz.
“We didn’t get in this to beat bums,” Roufus said. “It’s like, last fight, Anthony beat someone who had never been knocked out before, and knocked him out. And one thing is just the mentality. A funny story [former UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva told me years ago about when Nate fought Clay Guida, he kept saying ‘209 bitch’ the whole time during the fight. [Guida] comes back to the corner and asks his coach, ‘What’s 209? I don’t know.’ He’s in your face.
“So I’m going to be a crazy coach, I’m going to be talking a lot of mess in training to Anthony,” Roufus added. “That’s some of the psychological tricks my brothers and I used to do growing up. I’m a method coach — when he’s fighting one of the guys I’m fighting, I become that guy in the pads, I become that guy in training, so they get used to that mentality; a guy trash-talking, up in your face, howling and scowling the best way they can from the 209. So I’m going to integrate and get into that mindset. I’m going to be a homie for a while.”
Pettis is coming off an impressive come-from-behind win over Stephen Thompson in his UFC welterweight debut back in March, landing a Superman punch with his back against the cage to knock “Wonderboy” out and propel him to the No. 8 welterweight ranking.