Joseph Duffy on his “dream” debut, a move to 145, Tristar and his next fight


On March 14 ‘Irish Joe’ Duffy made his first walk to the Octagon and the Donegal man took just two minutes to underline why he deserved his spot among the world’s elite mixed martial artists.

If there were any jitters they certainly weren’t visible as Duffy’s hands dictated the pace early on. A left head kick wobbled Jake Lindsey – the unfortunate counterpart to Duffy – before two crisp shots to the body crumbled the American to the canvas. Convincing, devastating and somewhat spectacular – it was exactly what Duffy had wanted.

“It just went exactly how I wanted it to go, I suppose,” agreed Duffy as he took a brief break from packing his bag for his return to Montreal’s Tristar Gym.

“Everything about the fight just felt so comfortable. There was nothing that happened in the whole week that made me uncomfortable, it was like any other fight and you can’t ask for anymore than that. To get the win was the most important thing, but obviously a first round stoppage is always what I’m after.”

Duffy explained how his return to MMA last year against Damien Lapilus taught him not to chase down finishes. It is something that has evidently made an impact on the Irishman having now banked two first round stoppages since his third round submission finish the Frenchman last August.

“It’s like anything, when you obsess about trying to do some things you can make it more difficult than it actually is. I learned not to chase the finish too much in my first fight back with Lapilus, and that has set a precedent for me really,” he explained.

“Then in the Boussuge fight, I told myself not to chase it and then the finish actually came very quickly. It was the same with Lindsey. I said to myself that I would approach that fight exactly the same way. I tried not to think about the UFC debut too much, I just treated it like any other fight. Thank God, everything went well.”

And Duffy’s “dream” debut wasn’t just limited to his performance in the cage. After the event Dana White gave him a seat at the post-fight press conference where the UFC president and members of the gathered media praised the successful debutant.

“It was one of them pinch yourself moments, it was surreal. The whole process, Bruce Buffer announcing my name, Joe Rogan doing the commentating and interviewing me after the fight, being at the press conference sitting next to guys like Johny Hendricks and then Dana even gave me a mention, it was crazy.

“These are the things we are striving for throughout our whole careers as fighters, we want to get to these big stages. When it all happens it’s a bit like a dream, I suppose.”

Although Duffy’s future with one of the world’s leading MMA teams, Tristar, was not set in stone having prepared for his UFC debut in the Montreal facility, ‘Irish Joe’ insisted that there is no other gym he would rather be with than the Firas Zahabi stronghold.

He said: “There was definitely that same feeling out period for about a week when I first went over to Tristar. It was the same when I went back to training first, when I went to different gyms when I was boxing and when I moved to Titan initially.

“Tristar just seems to suit me perfectly, I really like the way they do things. I am surrounded by amazing fighters and their training is second to none so your level goes up so quickly.

“I’m going to be based out of Canada all the time. At the minute my girlfriend is still going to be working back home, so I’ll go out now for five weeks and then I’ll come back for a week. Hopefully I’ll have a fight announced by then and I can head back out to Montreal.

“All I’m focused on now is improving and I think if I want to do that I’m going to have spend as much time at Tristar as I possibly can. I feel that where I’m at now and where I’ll be at after two years with them, there’ll be a big, big difference. It’s something I’ve got to do.”

Duffy and McGregor will be forever linked from when Duffy submitted his fellow Irish prospect back in 2010. In the lead up to his UFC 185 debut, Duffy’s camp claimed that their latest addition could be thinking about dropping down to McGregor’s 145 lbs stomping ground. According to Duffy, the decision remains in the balance.

“No plans have been made yet on the featherweight thing,” he said. “I’ll arrive over there and I’ll have a chat with Eric (O’Keefe) and I’m sure we’ll know what we’re doing at some stage over the next few weeks. It’s not a decision we’re going to rush into, I’d rather take my time and make sure everybody is comfortable with it before I committed to it one way or the other.”

Although UFC 189 and the promotion’s first trip to Scotland stand out as dates that might appeal to him, Duffy insisted that he was quite happy to compete on any card UFC want him for.

“I’m not too stressed about getting on any particular card, the way I’m looking at it is when they tell me to go, I’ll go. All this time in between is for me to focus on growing in the sport. I feel like once I get over to Canada my game is going to go up another few notches, and quickly. Whether I’m called in the next few weeks or it’s a few months, all of that time is beneficial to me so I don’t worry about things like that.

“Obviously the UFC 189 card is amazing and I would love to be on it. The Scottish card is a week later and obviously that’s a bit closer to home. Again, I’m not too bothered by when I will fight again, I do what I’m told and I’m happy enough to do that.”

Duffy also outlined why he believes he will get a significant step up in competition for his sophomore UFC outing.

“I’ve never been one to call people out or focus too much on all of things that are in front of me. If I’m honest I’m expecting a higher ranked opponent, a higher level opponent, a more well know opponent – just because I took Jake out in the first round. It makes no difference to me though, once we’re in there everything will be exactly the same,” said Duffy.

Finally, Duffy outlined how he would like to fight two more times by the end of 2015.

“Twice would be ideal. Touch wood I’ll have no injuries that would be perfect. I’m pretty easy though, this is my first year with UFC and I want to concentrate on improving. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I have aspirations of going to the top, it’s not all going to come in one year, but it will come.”


Ireland's leading MMA media outlet. Home of Severe MMA Podcast. Producers of 'Notorious,' 'The Fighting Irish' & other MMA docus

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