There’s no denying that Nate Diaz is one of the best boxers in the UFC, but the former lightweight title challenger is often criticized for his stubbornness and refusal to adapt to his opponent’s style.
That stubbornness could end up costing Diaz in his long-awaited return to the Octagon against striking dynamo Anthony Pettis at UFC 241, as ‘Showtime’ is one of the most diverse and unorthodox fighters on the UFC roster.
Speaking to Luke Thomas on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, Pettis’ longtime coach and mentor, Duke Roufus, believes his prized student ‘brings more tools’ to the table than Diaz, who very rarely deviates from his boxing-central style.
“I think it’s great for both guys,” Roufus said, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. “I’m being a little goofy with my metaphors, et cetera, but Nate Diaz is a beast, and he’s going to be a beast at 170. But I’ve found Anthony is really strong [at 170]. One thing I know from being a coach in this sport, I see these guys have incredible performances in the gym at their normal weight, and that’s what I’m trying to get a lot of my guys to dial into, being at the weight that they perform the best at in the gym. So that being said, it’s going to be a great fight. Stylistically, Nate is an incredible boxer, tough as nails, resilient, got the heart of a champion and incredible jiu-jitsu.
“I just think Anthony brings more tools to the fight. Ironically, a lot of people don’t realize, one of my longtime students … was the coach of Josh Thomson, who helped manufacture that win over Nate Diaz. So that goes back to old-school Roufus gameplan.”
The highly anticipated welterweight bout takes places later this year, August 17, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. UFC 241 will mark Diaz’ first event in almost three years.