The first option for the Anthony Pettis camp was Donald Cerrone to be Showtime’s next opponent. With that fight off the table, coach Duke Roufus believes that another veteran would make sense for Pettis, the now-retired Dan Hardy.
Thursday it was announced that Conor McGregor would be making his return to the Octagon when he headlines UFC 246 opposite Donald Cerrone. But before that fight was signed, Roufus claims that Pettis versus Cowboy was virtually a done deal if not for one uninterested third party (Via MMA Fighting):
“They wanted to fight each other, they both accepted the fight, the UFC just doesn’t want to do it,” Roufus said. “It’s definitely not Cowboy. They both were down to do it, it’s just the UFC didn’t want to do the fight.”
In his last outing, Anthony Pettis was defeated via unanimous decision by Nate Diaz at UFC 241 in August. As a true veteran of the sport who has experienced the highs and the lows, Pettis knows the right steps to moving forward:
“We’re taking everything one fight at a time,” Roufus said. “I think that’s where we can complicate the life sometimes, when you make all sorts of plans … you get caught up in the big plan, really the minor plan is where they want to be, but the major plan is winning the fight ahead of you. That’s our mindset coming into 2020. Win the fight that’s ahead of us.
“That was the mentality when he faced Wonderboy and I’m just excited. There’s still a lot of fight left in him.”
And there is one name in particular that Roufus would love to see Pettis fight in 2020, that being Dan Hardy, a fighter who has been retired since 2012 but has been eying a return.
“I’ve heard through the grapevine that Dan Hardy in his comeback wants to fight Anthony, that’s a good fight,” Roufus said. “Not in any way putting Dan down, I think that stylistically it’s a great fight for both fighters, for the fans, and that’s what we’re trying to do is find good fights that are interesting in our aspects.
“Obviously, fitting for both guys, but at the same time it’s good for Anthony’s brand to fight the people he wants to fight, and his legacy.”
Do you believe an Anthony Pettis vs. Dan Hardy bout makes sense in 2020?