Just In Duke Roufus ‘blown away’ Anthony Pettis fought with broken foot, sees 155 return next MMA Life
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Anthony Pettis will find out Tuesday whether surgery is needed for the broken foot he suffered in his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 241.
Pettis’ longtime head coach, Duke Roufus, told MMA Junkie that the former UFC champion initially hurt his right foot on a head kick attempt but “really (expletive) it up” on a low kick that was expertly checked by Diaz en route to the unanimous-decision defeat.
Roufus said he was unaware to the extent of Pettis’ injury during the bout, because, unlike the broken hand in his UFC 229 loss to Tony Ferguson, the fighter failed to disclose what had happened until after the fight.
“He didn’t tell me what was happening at all,” Roufus told MMA Junkie. “He didn’t want me to stop it. He told me before the fight, ‘Don’t stop the fight if something happens.’ He told me not to stop the fight.”
Although Roufus didn’t know exactly what was plaguing Pettis (22-9 MMA, 9-8 UFC) in the fight with Diaz (20-11 MMA, 15-9 UFC), he said he knew something was off. Pettis wasn’t even attempting to execute many of the tactics the team prepared for Diaz, but the fact he spent more than 10 minutes in the octagon with a busted wheel was remarkable to the coach.
“The situation changed dramatically, and I was wondering why he was doing certain things, and it was because he couldn’t push off that foot,” Roufus said. “It was like Paul Felder when he broke his arm against Mike Perry. Everything changes when you have a horrific injury. Looking back at the fight I’m like, ‘Wow, how did he even do that?’ I was blown away.
“To fight Nate Diaz like that, I’m impressed as both a coach and a friend. MMA is a crazy sport. All respect to Nate. Sometimes you get hurt. It was hard watching what happened. Nate did everything we were thinking, and during the fight I was wondering, ‘Why can’t you do this?’ He wouldn’t say why. The bad thing about being a kicker is if you compromise your leg, you’re screwed.”
The fight between Pettis and Diaz is one that’d been in the making for the better part of five years. “Showtime” was naturally disappointed it didn’t go his way, Roufus said, but is apparently in good spirits. In Roufus’ mind, any personal animosity between the two is over.
“He’s really positive about the outcome,” Roufus said. “Nate Diaz was nothing but positive throughout the whole week and after the fight. Props to Nate Diaz. The beef is squashed. If they fight again it won’t be anything personal. It would just be awesome.”
The loss continued the win-one, lose-one trend Pettis has experienced in recent years. He’s alternated results over his past eight fights, and with the defeat fell to 1-1 since moving up to welterweight after winning his divisional debut against Stephen Thompson in March.
Although Pettis was in great spirits throughout fight week and appears to feel comfortable fighting at 170 pounds, Roufus feels something might be lost competing in that division. He said nothing is set in stone regarding Pettis’ next move, but he anticipates a return to lightweight once the foot heals.
“I’m going to rethink that for sure,” Roufus said. “I’ll get with the strength and conditioning team. I think he’s in the zone where he can fluctuate if it’s the right fight. But I think 155 is where we’re going back to. It’s a work in progress.”
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