Duke Roufus: Fighting Pettis in Milwaukee is like fighting GSP in Montreal
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) will finally get his shot at UFC gold this Saturday night when he rematches Benson Henderson (19-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) in the main event of UFC 164 in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Pettis and Henderson first met at WEC 53 back in 2010 for the World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight strap. “Smooth” lost a unanimous decision and his title to Pettis that night, largely thanks to Pettis’ famed “Showtime Kick” off the cage in the fifth round.
Since then, Benson has reeled off seven straight victories inside the Octagon, including three title defenses against Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz, and Gilbert Melendez respectively.
Meanwhile, Anthony Pettis has won three straight fights under the UFC banner, including stoppage wins over Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon in his past 2 outings.
“A rematch with Pettis was something I always hoped would happen”, stated the current UFC lightweight champion.
But, according to Duke Roufus, Pettis’ head trainer, a rematch against his star pupil was the last thing Benson wanted. Because if he truly wanted to rid himself of that WEC 53 loss, “Smooth” would have pushed a bit more for the rematch. Here is what Mr. Roufus had to say as a guest on “The MMA Hour”:
“I just think personally, as a former competitor, I lost to Maurice Smith in 1996, he’s older than me, and I’m old, but if somebody said, ‘Hey, we’ll put a fight on between the two of you,’ I’m going to go fight. I just think someone who lost a fight would want to take that fight again, especially in the manner that it went down. I mean, he didn’t really push for that fight and I really believe round six is coming in this fight on Saturday. Anthony has this guy’s number. It’s going to show Saturday night. I think Anthony improved in every area that Benson Henderson is going to try and attack Anthony.”
The first Pettis vs. Henderson bout took place in Glendale, Arizona, Benson’s home turf, but the rematch will take place right in Anthony’s backyard of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a place known for its dedicated and hardcore sports fans.
As far as the support “Showtime” will receive from his hometown fans, Roufus says he actually feels bad for “Smooth” due to all the hostility that awaits him in “The Badger State.”
“I actually feel sorry for Ben Henderson, it’s going to be a hostile crowd. This is going to be a Montreal, Brazil type crowd. I do man, it’s going to be like fighting GSP in Montreal.”
As far as his prediction for the bout, Duke didn’t hesitate to predict that his star pupil will get the finish, either via strikes or submission. Who do you have winning UFC 164’s main event? Let’s hear it Penn Nation!