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Raising Champions: Five of The Best MMA Trainers

5. Duke Roufus, Roufusport Gym

It’s not only about winning if you ask Duke Roufus. It is winning WITH STYLE that matters to him. The 43-year-old former kickboxer (far right) may be the only trainer out there that preaches an exciting brand of fighting above all else.

“My thing is what’s entertaining,” Duke Roufus said in an interview. “That’s the one thing I’ve tried to do as a martial arts coach right now, create a style of fighting that fans are like ‘wow, I’ve got to watch this’. No one’s going, ‘oh, I love the way you lay on that guy’.”

“No one’s jumping for joy when they watch that. If you can find me those fans, please introduce me to them.”

But of course, that does not mean he doesn’t like the grappling aspect of the game.

“Wrestling is awesome! But just to lay there and stuff a guy’s submission attempts and do nothing, casual fans doesn’t get it,” he said.

If you want to know what it’s like to be coached by Roufus, you can see his imprint over his fighter’s style– most notably, the newly-crowned UFC Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

His fighters regularly pull off maneuvers that most fighters won’t even attempt. They use the cage to gain striking advantage like Anthony Pettis’  showtime kick to Ben Henderson and Alan Belcher’s batman punch (you read it right, not superman) against Yoshihiro Akiyama.

Roufus just shrugged it off: “We do those things regularly in the gym.”

Other notable fighters who train under Roufus include Ben Rothwell, Matt Mitrione, Ben Askren and Stephan Bonnar.

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