Anthony Pettis’s coach Duke Roufus feels “Showtime” has reinvented himself.
Pettis is set to collide with Nate Diaz at UFC 241 on Aug. 17. The action will take place inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. “Showtime” has made it clear that this bout is personal for him.
Duke Roufus Explains How Pettis ‘Reinvented’ Himself
Pettis had a rough stretch when his UFC lightweight title reign ended. “Showtime” went from the 155-pound ruler, to being in a three-fight skid. During an appearance on MMAFighting.com‘s “The MMA Hour,” Roufus admitted that those were trying times:
“If he wouldn’t have won against Charles Oliveira, I was going to quit. That’s how desperate I was, because it was hard. It wasn’t that he was lazy. It wasn’t that he wasn’t working hard. He just didn’t have his mojo. The other thing I think that Anthony [dealt with], he had such a meteoric rise in the sport, I don’t think he handled a lot of things that — he never really dealt with the death of his father. Because I went through the same situation. Ironically, I found my sister dead at the same type of age as him.
“I had a very dark area of my career because, I think, the beginning of your career, when you catapult from bad experiences, you’ve got that angst, you’ve got the fire, you hate the world, you hate your opponent. Well, what happens? You become champion, we meet girls, we get better lives. You’re not as angry as you once were. You’re forced to get better. You’ve got to win by getting better, and that’s what Anthony’s done.
“He’s dug so deep, found a new passion, a new motivation. It has nothing to do with all the bad things that happened to him. His motivation is all of the great things that are next to him and ahead of him, and that’s why I’m super happy about him, because sometimes as tough as we are, we do a good job of guarding the things that we should address. Because I’ve stayed up many late nights thinking about all this stuff for him, relating it to my life, and he just dug deep and reinvented himself, 2018 on. And it takes a special person to do that.”
Pettis is coming off a second-round knockout victory over Stephen Thompson. If “Showtime” can get past Diaz, then he’ll have won two straight bouts. Pettis hasn’t been able to string together consecutive wins in years.