Coach: Anthony Pettis Didn’t Let Losses ‘Break His Soul’

Anthony Pettis
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According to head coach Duke Roufus, Anthony Pettis makes ‘the magic happen’ at welterweight. He just does the boring stuff.

Pettis floored Stephen Thompson with a modified Superman punch off the cage with five seconds left in the second round of their main event last Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn. Up until that point, it looked as though “Wonderboy” was getting the better of “Showtime.” However, according to Roufus, Pettis was following the plan to a tee.

“For sure. 99 percent of it,” Roufus said when asked if that finishing blow was just like they drew it up (via MMAFighting). “The last one percent was Anthony. He followed the game plan, we prepared together very well, but that was Anthony being Anthony at his best.

“He’s great at audibling and when he feels good and when he’s in the moment, he’s so dangerous. That was a surprise attack and he landed it and it was brilliant.”

Roufusport had plenty of data on Thompson after the team spent two full training camps getting then champion Tyron Woodley ready to defend his title against “Wonderboy.” So when Pettis landed flush on Thompson, Roufus was not surprised.

“I think it can happen anytime with Anthony,” Roufus said. “Him and I have such a great relationship. He does what he does and I do what I do. I have a motto I live by, ‘Work for what you need. Pray for what you want.’

“Anthony makes the magic happen, I do the boring stuff, the fundamentals, the game plan. That’s why we work well. Like Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan.”

Roufus was quick to point out that much of the damage Pettis took was superficial. Physically, he was all good, and Roufus claims he was figuring Thompson out as the fight wore on.

“Dana White and Sean Shelby came up to me after the fight and they observe the fights very carefully and they loved how Anthony was chopping Wonderboy down with the low kicks and that was the plan,” Roufus said. “The whole plan was to go five rounds and he was weathering the storm. Anthony prepared himself very well to be patient.

“That’s the thing in MMA, you get cut easy because you can’t put as much Vaseline on as you can in boxing, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. But he wasn’t hurt bad. He was breathing great in-between the first and second rounds, he was in great shape for the fight, and I wasn’t worried at all. I found him to be figuring Wonderboy out as the fight went on.”

Pettis has been through a lot these last few years both personally and professionally. For Roufus, that makes Pettis’ last few wins that much sweeter.

“I know he’s my guy, but I’ve got to pat him on the back,” Roufus said. “The character he’s showed in the last two years of reinvigorating his career after — you know, we’ve had some really bad failures and it can break your soul. And he didn’t let it break him and here we are and I’m really proud of him for that. That took courage and guts and I just can’t say that enough, how proud I am of him.” If you enjoyed this story, please share it on social media!