When Anthony Pettis steps into the cage with Nate Diaz at UFC 241, he’ll have to worry about his opponent’s incredible grappling skill, his crisp boxing, and his bottomless gas tank. Yet he’ll also have to be concerned with a much more intangible factor: Diaz’s trash talk.
Nate Diaz and his brother Nick are both infamous for their habit of talking trash to their opponents mid-fight. In an apparent grudge match like this fight with Pettis, the trash talk will almost certainly fly inside the Octagon.
Duke Roufus, the coach behind Anthony Pettis, has an interesting plan to prepare for this factor.
He’s going to trash talk Pettis in practice.
“A funny story (former UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva told me years ago about when Nate fought Clay Guida, he kept saying ‘209 bitch’ the whole time during the fight,” Roufus said on The MMA Hour on Monday (transcript via MMA Fighting). “[Guida] comes back to the corner and asks his coach, ‘What’s 209? I don’t know.’ He’s in your face.
“So I’m going to be a crazy coach, I’m going to be talking a lot of mess in training to Anthony,” he added. “That’s some of the psychological tricks my brothers and I used to do growing up. I’m a method coach — when he’s fighting one of the guys I’m fighting, I become that guy in the pads, I become that guy in training, so they get used to that mentality; a guy trash-talking, up in your face, howling and scowling the best way they can from the 209. So I’m going to integrate and get into that mindset. I’m going to be a homie for a while.”
Trash talk aside, Roufus believes Anthony Pettis matches up very well with Nate Diaz on a technical level.
“I just know stylistically, when it comes to striking, who are the best matchups, and Nate Diaz is a wonderful matchup stylistically for Anthony,” he said. “And we’re at a neat stage of our career where we’re starting to see some stylistic matchups that are fun for him. Now, Nate is not a big shooter, not a big wrestler, so it’s going to be on the feet a lot, unless Anthony chooses it to be on the mat and he wants to take Nate down.”
Do you think Anthony Pettis can withstand Nate Diaz’s skills and trash talk at UFC 241?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/13/2019.