Anthony Pettis is on a collision course with Nate Diaz heading into this weekend’s (Sat., August 17, 2019) UFC 241 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
But it’s a collision of a different sort that has ‘Showtime’s’ longtime head coach Duke Roufus talking. Speaking during this week’s episode of “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” (via MMA Junkie), Roufus speculated that Pettis would soon be on a path with megastar Conor McGregor. Roufus speculated that a finish over Diaz would raise McGregor’s interest:
“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. 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 Was ‘McGregor Before McGregor?’
Pettis has seen it all throughout his decorated fighting career. He saw the highs of the game when he surged to the UFC lightweight championship. But ‘Showtime’ also experienced the downside of fighting when he lost the title. A long down period of inconsistency and injury plagued Pettis. He rebounded with a huge win by knocking out Stephen Thompson in his 170-pound debut in March.
He’s on the cusp of yet another huge fight now. Roufus believes Pettis’ biggest fights will come in the twilight of Pettis’ career. The respected trainer made the bold comparison suggesting that Pettis was McGregor before McGregor came along. That would only add to a potential match-up between the two:
“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.”
Finally Back To Health
Pettis was no doubt all flash inside and out of the Octagon, but there are few who would argue he was on McGregor’s level in terms of trash talk and self-promotion. No one would ever confuse Pettis’ pay-per-view (PPV) numbers with those of ‘The Notorious,’ either. McGregor is currently out of action as well. While many have speculated about his return, he’ll probably only come back for one huge rematch.
That leaves the status of this speculative fight extremely uncertain. If and when it does present itself, however, Pettis will be ready. Roufus closed by insisting his star pupil was finally healthy again. And in that physical state, the sky is the limit for the creative ‘Showtime’:
“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.”
Will we witness the old “Showtime” somehow earn a fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 241?