Duke Roufus Says Anthony “Showtime” Pettis Working “to Become the Greatest of All Time”
Former WEC Champ Has Similar “Demeanor” to GSP
By Kelsey Mowatt
At the recent UFC on FOX 6 event, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis entrenched a shot at championship gold, by crumpling Donald Cerrone to the mat with a devastating kick to the body. As it’s now been revealed, however, the former WEC champion will not wait for a crack at the UFC lightweight belt, but rather, he will move to 145 pounds to face featherweight champ Jose Aldo.
The news is certainly in keeping with what the fighter’s renowned coach Duke Roufus recently relayed to Full Contact Fighter Radio: Pettis hopes to become one of the sport’s greatest figures ever. Adding a UFC featherweight title to his resume, of course, would certainly be a step in the right direction.
“He took two days off. Sunday was his birthday. He’s really hungry right now. I respect him so much,” Roufus said while taping a segment for FCF Radio, prior to the news that Pettis would indeed fight Aldo on August 3rd. “Most guys would be cashing a fat check and popping bottles. He just turned 26 and he’s really focused on his dream of becoming UFC champ. Then he wants to become the greatest of all time. That’s his next goal. He wants to get the belt and he never wants to lose it.”
After UFC 156 Saturday, which saw Aldo retain his belt with a unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar, UFC President Dana White reported that Pettis had texted him to ask for a fight with the feared champion.
“He wants to retire undefeated champion and undisputed champion,” Roufus furthered, while discussing the aspirations of Pettis following his January 26th win over Cerrone. “He’s got that demeanor of say a Georges St. Pierre; he’s the Latino Georges St. Pierre if I can go that far.”
While Pettis won’t be challenging for the lightweight title next, the Roufusport fighter has earned a bout with Aldo by winning three straight fights, following a unanimous decision loss to Clay Guida in June, 2011. In particular, Pettis has once again showcased the ferocious, striking abilities in his last two bouts which made him a star in the WEC, by stopping both Cerrone and Joe Lauzon with highlight reel kicks.
“This week my guys showed that when you fight my guys and you want to talk some trash, you’re barking up the wrong tree,” said Roufus, while alluding to pre-fight comments from Cerrone, which accused Pettis of avoiding a bout with the Jackson’s MMA fighter. “Look at what (Ben) Askren did and look what Pettis did to Cerrone.”
“I work on the psychological side of this sport, fighting, I teach my guys this is a fight,” added Roufus, who also coaches the aforementioned Bellator welterweight champ Askren, Erik Koch, Alan Belcher, and Pascal Krauss among many others. “Starting in 2013, all my guys have really vowed to come in and beat the brakes off their opponents. They want to let everyone know that they mean business this year, to really kick some ass and take some names.”
While the recent liver kick Pettis utilized to finish Cerrone may not be recalled as much as the “Showtime” cage kick he used to drop Benson Henderson in 2010, it was the latest demonstration of the awesome finishing power he possesses.
“If you look at the whole fight Anthony was attacking the body from start to finish,” recalled Roufus. “He kicked the body, he did a great step knee on the cage, another kick to the body, an excellent straight body punch.”
“Anthony came to me as a very good Taekwondo stylist,” Roufus furthered. “But he’s worked his ass off to be an incredible Muay Thai kickboxing and boxing expert, and MMA striking expert. I used to have four really high level Thai fighters living with me, stadium champs; he’s starting to get that flower and power that they had.”