UFC lightweight debutant Joseph Duffy has no definite plans for 145lbs move


Everything seems to have come full circle for ‘Irish Joe’ Duffy since his return to MMA last August. Making the transition back to MMA must have been difficult for the Donegal man, who clocked up a 7-0 pro boxing record during his hiatus, but if he has proved anything thus far it’s that he does very well under pressure.

One of Europe’s top MMA prospects before he took a step back from the sport in 2011, there was undoubtedly some feeling out period while he got his touch back for things like grappling and jiu jitsu in London’s The MMA Clinic on his return in 2014.

As if that experience wasn’t enough for the Irish lightweight, he upped sticks to train in one of the greatest training facilities in the world, Montreal’s Tristar Gym, ahead of his UFC debut on Saturday night. With some of the best fighters in the world going to work under the watchful eye of head coach Firas Zahabi, Duffy has had to adjust his approach in some ways since linking up with the team.

In an interview with SevereMMA.com, Tristar coach Eric O’Keefe highlighted the different line of action they take toward cutting weight in North American, something that Duffy feels has suited him quite well in the lead up to his first UFC weigh in on Friday.

“The weight cut feels really good so far,” said the Irish debutant. “George (Lockhart) who is handling my weight cut is really happy with my weight at the minute. He thinks it will be a pretty easy cut for me, so that’s great, I’ll have even more energy for the fight.”

Duffy highlighted that a return to Montreal is quite likely after his meeting with Jake Lindsey, but first he will go home and put a plan in place before anything is set in stone.

He said: “I have my flights booked for Sunday so I’ll be heading back home for a while first. Touch wood, I’ll have no injuries and I can get straight back in to training. I’ll be looking to get straight back into it as soon as I’m home between The MMA Clinic and Titan.

“I’ve got to sit down with my girlfriend and figure a few things out but I definitely like the thought of going back out to Montreal for my training.”

As for Jake Lindsey, although he hasn’t taken a win in two tests under the UFC banner, his career before reaching the Octagon makes Duffy take him very seriously.

“This guy is 9-0 outside of UFC, so he’s not a guy you want to get caught sleeping on. He’s an exciting fighter, he comes forward and that’s obvious from the amount of finishes that he’s got – he’s got a lot of knockouts and a lot of stoppages in general.

“He’s got a lot of submission wins too so I think it’s fair to say that Jake is a very well rounded fighter. He brings a lot to the table and I think the matchup makes for a cracking fight,” outlined the Irishman.

News broke last week about a potential move to featherweight for the Ireland’s latest UFC singee, but Duffy was adamant that a drop down to 145 “is not definite by any means”.

“The move to featherweight is not definite by any means,” he said. “We’re going to see how this weight cut goes and once George knows a bit more about my body, he’ll be the one that determines whether it’s a realistic goal or not.

“We just really want to focus on this fight and this weight cut, and then afterwards maybe we can sit down and have a discussion about it. We’ll make our plans from there really.

“What division I’m in doesn’t really matter to me. Whether it’s 145 or 155, I’m not really all that bothered. At this level we’re all here to fight, that’s the long and short of it, no matter what division you’re in you are going to have the same task at hand.”

Coming off one of the best knockouts of 2014 – his flying knee finish of Julien Boussuge – Duffy maintains that he is keeping any thought of finishing Lindsey in the back of his head based on previous encounters where he looked for an early stoppage to no avail.

“It’s all about getting the W. I’ve said it to you before, I made the mistake in the (Damien) Lapilus fight of chasing the exciting, early finish. I was trying too hard to force things to happen and it ended up lasting a lot longer than I had planned. I won’t make that same mistake twice. I’m going to concentrate on fighting and then hopefully I’ll get the win,” said ‘Irish Joe’.

Carrying a lot of hype since his return to the sport, Duffy noticed the intensified interest in him particularly on social media sites, a tool that he feels he has yet to embrace.

“I definitely found that it’s blown up a lot more now that I’m making my UFC debut, especially on social media. I’ve noticed a big difference on that. My battery on my phone only lasts an hour or two because the notifications coming through, so I’ve had to knock them off now.

“I’m absolutely useless on social media. I still don’t know how to use Twitter properly. Honestly, I don’t think I could give myself two out of ten for my social media game.

“It’s probably something that I need to work on to be honest. It’s not something that I’ve ever really thought about, all I think about is fighting, I don’t stop and think ‘oh, I better take a picture of this’, you know?

“It’s a big thing for a lot of the fighters and I can understand it. It gives the fans an insight into what the lifestyle is all about. It’s a good thing really, so you might see me doing that a bit more. You can throw me the odd retweet here and there,” he laughed.

“I’m more aware of the hype now than I have been before. Cage Warriors had even grown so much in the time that I was away from it – things blew up there too on social media when I came back.

“With all the Irish fighters breaking through in to the UFC now, I think that’s just taken it to a whole new level.”

Although he previously has stated that he wants to stay active since signing for UFC, Duffy will hold off on committing to a number of outings for 2015 until the Lindsey fight is behind him.

“It all depends on how this first fight goes really. We’ll have to see if this drop down to 145 is realistic. I don’t like to look too far ahead. I could have this fight, and God forbid, I could get an injury that could end my career. We will have to see after the fight.”


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

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