Coach: Anthony Pettis was ‘the Conor before Conor was Conor’

Anthony Pettis, Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor is far and away the biggest star in MMA history. Yet Duke Roufus, the coach behind former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, believes Pettis blazed a trail for McGregor.

Roufus sees a number of similarities between the two former lightweight champs, and believes a fight between them could be in the cards if Pettis beats his rival Nate Diaz at UFC 241 this weekend.

“I think Anthony’s trying to get those big challenges on the way out the door of his career,” Roufus said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday (transcript via MMA News). “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.”

Duke Roufus continued, explaining why an Anthony Pettis vs. Conor McGregor fight makes sense.

“When Anthony does the business Saturday, I see him and Conor McGregor being on a collision course,” the coach stated. “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.”

Whatever the case, Roufus seems to be expecting a vintage performance from a healthy and motivated Anthony Pettis at UFC 241.

“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.”

Does a future fight between the former lightweight champions McGregor and Pettis interest you? Who do you think would win?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/14/2019.