After almost a three-year absence, Nate Diaz will be returning to action against former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. The two men are scheduled to face each other in a welterweight fight at UFC 241 in Anaheim on August 17th.
During an interview on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, Pettis’ head coach Duke Roufus spoke about how the conversation went between them and the Diaz camp, which he says they deliberately kept under wraps.
“I gotta tell you, the neat thing about this fight is we kept it real hush-hush,” Roufus said (via MMA Fighting). “I think it’s been in the works for about two-and-a-half, three weeks, and the neat thing about it was Nate Diaz’s people talked to our people to put this thing together.
“So that’s when we knew it was that it was going to be a real fight — when they came reaching out to us. There’s been bad blood between the two guys for years, so it’s going to be a barnburner.”
With the Diaz fight now in their sights, Roufus says he will be preparing Pettis in full, both physically and mentally.
“One thing is just the mentality,” he said. “A funny story (former UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva told me years ago about when Nate fought Clay Guida, he kept saying ‘209 b-tch’ the whole time during the fight. [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,” Roufus continued. “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.”
UFC 241 will be headlined by a heavyweight title rematch between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic.