Nate Diaz’s hate of Anthony Pettis will backfire at UFC 241

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With every Nate Diaz fight announcement comes a whirlwind of speculation about whether the fight will actually happen. It’s been no different since his UFC 241 booking against Anthony Pettis, but the former lightweight champion’s team is confident they will share the octagon.

Why? Because while fighting Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) is something Pettis (22-8 MMA, 9-7 UFC) has wanted for years, it wasn’t on his radar until the other side made noise. Pettis’ head coach, Duke Roufus, says it was Diaz’s camp who first mentioned the idea of an August showdown, and the situation quickly progressed from there.

“Diaz approached us, and we all approached the UFC together to make this happen,” Roufus said in a Wednesday post on Instagram Live. “I’m very confident the fight’s going to happen, and I’m very confident how much Nate Diaz hates Anthony Pettis that he wants to make that scrap happen.”

UFC 241 takes place Aug. 17 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card airs streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.

The fight between Diaz and Pettis is a grudge match several years in the making. “Showtime” defeated Diaz’s good friend and teammate, Gilbert Melendez, in a UFC lightweight title fight at UFC 181 in December 2014, but it stems back even further, when members of the two camps reportedly got into an altercation during UFC 167 weekend in November 2013.

Roufus sincerely believes there is a legitimate beef at play. And while he said he has no ill will directed at Diaz, “Anthony does.”

If that’s the case, Roufus thinks the scale is tipped dramatically in favor of his fighter.

“Let’s do a little history of Anthony Pettis: Guys who trash talk in Anthony’s face, he’s whipped their asses,” Roufus said. “One of those bad beatings was Donald Cerrone, a lot of pre-fight trash talk. How did that end? Most recently Michael Chiesa, how did that fight end? Anthony fairs very well when people want to test his moxy, and he’s very motivated.”

Just because history indicates one thing doesn’t mean Roufus is making any assumptions about how the fight will go. Roufus said the fact that Diaz will be coming off a nearly three-year layoff at UFC 241 doesn’t mean it’ll be a cakewalk. Nor would Roufus want it that way.

“He’s been motivated for this fight for years, and it’s going to be a barnburner,” Roufus said. “Not an easy fight, but we didn’t get into this fight to hand-pick bums and beat the can of the week. Everyone counted Anthony out when he fought ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, and that’s what’s up. Not only did beat ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, he was the first one to knock him out in 87 fights.”

For more on UFC 241, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.






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