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Training during lockdown ‘a blessing in disguise’ for UFC 249’s Anthony Pettis

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“He’s just had an amazing time preparing for this fight. His mind set and his skill set coming into this are just blowing me away. I’m so happy for him.”

UFC 241 Cormier v Miocic 2: Open Workouts Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

The coronavirus pandemic has sent the MMA world into disarray as many gyms across the world have had to temporarily shut down due to governments’ response to the outbreak.

Many fighters are struggling to adapt to the new environment but, according to Duke Roufus, former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is thriving amidst the chaos.

Roufus, who trains Pettis out of Roufsport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said ‘Showtime’ has had one of his best training camps to date and is treating the lockdown as ‘a blessing in disguise’.

“A blessing in disguise, in a lot of different ways,” Roufus told MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee ahead of Pettis’ rematch with Donald Cerrone at UFC 249. “This situation makes you rethink, re-navigate the situation, and I’m gonna give all the credit to my man Anthony Pettis.

“He came in with an idea of how he wanted to train for this fight, and he brought it to my attention and he communicated very well. We’ve gone with some older methods and preparation for the fight that has produced way better results than we have for some of our last fights. He’s just had an amazing time preparing for this fight. His mind set and his skill set coming into this are just blowing me away. I’m so happy for him.”

Pettis beat Cerrone via first-round KO back when both men fought in a number one contender’s bout at UFC on FOX 6 in 2013, with Pettis going on to submit Benson Henderson to capture the UFC lightweight title.

A lot has changed since then, but Pettis’ “love for what he does is back better than ever” due to his newfound gratitude for training, according to Roufus.

“You get an appreciation for your family,” he said. “You get an appreciation for your career, your passion. … He’s always been a grateful guy, but his gratitude has just been even more every day. There’s nothing else going on so when you come to the training every day, you soak it in, you appreciate it.

“It was taken away from us, but getting it back it’s like, ‘Wow.’ His love for what he does is back better than ever. It’s a unique situation, it’s crazy, in a great way.”

UFC 249, which will feature Pettis vs. Cerrone on the preliminary card, takes place later this evening at the VyState Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.