Ireland’s latest UFC fighter Joseph Duffy has said comparisons between him and Conor McGregor are “part of the game” but that getting down to a weight where the two could fight is “not a priority”.
Famously the last fighter to beat McGregor – Duffy forced him to submit during a Cagewarriors bout in 2010 – he accepted that he was likely to be compared to McGregor at present, given how well ‘The Notorious’ was performing.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Duffy said: “People like to talk about it because Conor is doing so well. It is what it is. It’s a part of the game. I don’t look too much into it, and I don’t think Conor pays too much attention to it either, because obviously it was a long time ago.”
A rematch between the two has been mooted, although Duffy fought last Saturday at 155 pounds to McGregor’s 145. He said it would not be easy for him to fight at 145 pounds, and although “it’s in there at the minute, it’s definitely not a priority”.
Duffy stopped his opponent Jake Lindsey in the first round of his UFC debut last Saturday in Dallas, Texas.
“It was a great start,” he said of the fight. “It was good to get the first one under me belt, and I’m looking forward to getting back in there again.”
The Donegal man said he had not had any nerves in the octagon and that although he had been ready for the fight to go three rounds, he was pleased to have ended it so quickly.
Having recently moved to train in the Tristar gym in Montreal, Canada, ahead of the fight, Duffy said he was feeling the benefits of the new environment.
“It was incredible,” he said. “It was cold, that’s for sure, but the level of talent that’s in the gym, and the level of coaching that’s there: it really was an outstanding place to train.”
The 27-year-old said he was looking forward to getting back to the gym, and that the next logical step was to move to Montreal on a permanent basis.
“The amount I took on board and the amount I learned without even realising was incredible," he said.
“It’s just doing the intelligent things. I felt like my ground [work] went up a notch when I was out there, also. And obviously, being in with top wrestlers and everything else, as well; I felt like that took a massive leap, also.”
An accomplished boxer with a 7-0 professional record – he left MMA to take up boxing in 2013 before signing with UFC in January - Duffy said difficulties with his hands was one of the reasons he returned to MMA. He also missed MMA, and grappling in particular.
“I suppose a combination of the both, and seeing how well the Irish fighters were doing also was a bit part of it.”
Duffy stressed the importance of fighting for him, saying: “In a way I would probably say it is me. I’ve been training since I was five. I don’t really know anything else. So, it’s just a part of me. I don’t how I would deal with life without it."
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