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Duke Roufus says 'Mayweather of our sport' Anthony Pettis could fight four times a year 'easy'

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If the gods of MMA injuries favor him well, it sounds like we could be seeing a lot more of the UFC's lightweight champion in coming years.

The last few years of Anthony Pettis' career have been something of a textbook case in lost time for an athlete's career. Between 2007 and 2010, Pettis fought 14 times, an average of more than 3 times a year, and including a five fight run in 2008. Since then, however, Pettis has never fought more than twice a year, and only once in 2012 and 2014. He had to withdraw from two fights due to knee injuries, and missed most of 2012 recovering from an apparent shoulder injury. Still, that doesn't appear to have slowed his fire for training, as his head coach Duke Roufus compared Pettis' drive to that of Floyd Mayweather (well known for his tireless work ethic, among other things).

Roufus was speaking on a recent episode of the MMA Hour, ahead of the champ's planned title defense at UFC 185 on Saturday, March 14th (transcript via MMAFighting):

"Knockout," he said. "This is going to be a fight that's won on the feet. I got to tell you, Anthony, when he ran off that five-fight streak in the WEC and had some amazing performances -- a Pettis that's fighting this often is the most dangerous Pettis you'll see. You don't want to let this kid starting fighting too often if you're the other contenders. He said the other day I could do this four times a year easy. That's how easy the training camps are for him. Not because he's lazy, but because he is like the [Floyd] Mayweather of our sport, hard work and dedicated. He's the guy [that says], ‘hey, let's do one more round,' or ‘hey, let's do another session on Saturday.' He's the one asking me to schedule more as opposed to me telling him to schedule more. That's why he's going to win.

"I saw him one day against top level boxers spar 14 rounds in a row like it was nothing. Fourteen rounds. He's on a different level. A lot of people don't realize how strong Anthony is until actually they're in there with him."

Roufus also compared Pettis to "a student right now who doesn't leave school," saying that Pettis, "doesn't have to cram for tests, he doesn't have to catch up. He's always in striking distance of always being in shape not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. He's ready to fight all the time." All of which is great to hear about the reigning lightweight champion, but if it doesn't translate to him actually stepping into the cage more than once in a blue moon, it may all be for naught.

Hopefully 2015 sees an end to his injury woes so that the UFC can start taking advantage of his constant state of readiness.