Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (20-7 MMA) will return to the octagon at next month’s highly anticipated UFC 226 event against Michael Chiesa.
Since losing his lightweight title to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185 in March of 2015, Pettis has since gone 2-4 over his past six fights, a slump which includes a pair of fights at featherweight (145-pounds).
Anthony’s most recent octagon appearance came against perennial lightweight contender Dustin Poirier, who finished Pettis via third-round TKO in a “fight of the night” performance at UFC Norfolk.
Despite his protégé’s recent struggles, legendary coach Duke Roufus believes that fight fans are about to see the same Anthony Pettis who once ruled the 155-pound weight class when he steps in the cage at UFC 226.
“As ‘Apollo’ (Creed) once said, we got civilized.” Duke Roufus told MMAJunkie Radio.
Sometimes success has a way of softening fighters and that could very well be the case with Pettis.
After putting together a spectacular five-fight win streak, which included four stoppage wins and culminated in winning the promotions lightweight world title, Pettis’ face was seen on the front of popular Wheaties cereal box.
It was shortly after that honor that “Showtime’s” career took a nosedive.
“One thing I told him is if we’re going to do this from now on, we’ve got to be about that life,” Roufus said. “This year, Anthony’s learned more about fighting, being a veteran, being a master, and focusing,” he said. “This six months has been more legendary than (the last three years). He’s made up for lost time, and I’m expecting a special Anthony Pettis to show up on July 7th.”
“He’s got that dog back in the fight, that faith, that look, that aggression, and that hunger,” Roufus said. “Unfortunately, it happens (that fighters lose their edge). ‘Rocky’ movies are more realistic than people know. For me, if he makes a comeback, it will be one of the most triumphant things I’ve ever done in my life.”
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