Anthony Pettis has finished his opponents in 14 of his 17 career victories, and his jiu-jitsu coach Diego Moraes believes the new UFC lightweight champion has a "good chance" to do the same to UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
"Jose Aldo is a jiu-jitsu black belt from Nova Uniao. We have to respect that," Moraes told MMAFighting.com. "We all know Aldo is excellent in every area and he’s a jiu-jitsu black belt under Andre Pederneiras. We know that, but we’re here to do our job. We’re sure Pettis will be ready wherever the fight goes, with good chances to submit or knock him out. Pettis will win."
Aldo hasn’t lost since 2005, when he suffered the only defeat of his career via submission to Luciano Azevedo. However, Ben Henderson’s only submission loss in MMA happened six years ago, and Pettis needed only one round to do it.
"Anthony has jiu-jitsu skills to defeat anyone in this division," he said. "He’s training with the best grapplers. People always say how great he is as a striker, but he showed he’s a complete champion. He stopped Ben Henderson’s takedowns, worked his striking and submitted a jiu-jitsu black belt who trains with (multiple-time world champion) Augusto Mendes."
Pettis scored his first submission victory since he started working with Moraes on 2011, and the jiu-jitsu coach knows how the blue belt has evolved.
"I wasn’t surprised," he said. "He's worked a lot on his jiu-jitsu. He already had a good ground game, and he’s getting better now that he worked with Team Moraes for his last three or four fights. He trained with a lot of black belts in Brazil and was confident enough to fight jiu-jitsu with anyone. I rooted for a submission (in this fight) because I wanted him to show how good his jiu-jitsu is. Nobody expected that, except the ones who train with him every day."
Pettis hurt his left knee during the UFC win over Henderson, and will have it checked to Tuesday to see if it will require surgery or not.
Pettis and Aldo want to fight each other next, and Moraes suggests Brazil as the place for the superfight.
"Jose Aldo said he wants to fight, and so do we," he said. "Maybe in January or February, pending the clearance of Pettis’ knee and Aldo’s foot. Let’s wait. UFC always talked about an event in a soccer stadium in Brazil, so maybe that’s the perfect fight for that.
"That’s the fight everybody wants to watch. Pettis was very happy when he was set to fight Aldo in Brazil. That’s a fight he wanted to do, but then he got injured. The fight is going to be even bigger now that they are both champions, the two best strikers in the lighter weight classes. I’m a big fan of (Andre) Pederneiras, Jose Aldo and it’s going to be an honor to fight him."