Joseph Duffy will finally make his return to the UFC octagon this evening as he takes on the powerful Englishman Marc Diakiese on the UFC London prelims.
Most will know this Donegal lightweight for his 2010 victory over the future UFC champion Conor McGregor but with a win this evening, he will set himself on course for a crack at the lightweight top-15.
Because make no mistake, Joseph Duffy is a high-level mixed martial artist.
‘Irish’ Joe is an undefeated pro-boxer who holds a black-belt in both taekwondo and jujitsu that is then bolstered by his purple-belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the famed Firas Zahabi.
And while many would take every opportunity they could highlight the fact that they had once gotten the better of the biggest star in the history of the sport, Duffy’s demeanour is not one of a man who needs to brag about such a feat.
Last time out, he faced off against the incredibly tricky James Vick at UFC 217 – a matchup that has proved to be a banana skin for many in the past.
Sure, both Justin Gaethje and Paul Felder have been able to best The Texecutioner in his last two appearances but for the most part, Vick has been an incredibly difficult task for anyone to overcome.
With a 4-2 UFC record, we’re still waiting on Joe to really make that push into the upper echelons of the UFC’s finest division but when he has been at his best, there’s a fluidity to his game that showcases a polished and undoubtedly elite arsenal of weapons.
He’s a technical boxer, a dynamic kicker, and a very legitimate submission threat.
Yes, his 2016 defeat at the hands of interim-lightweight title-challenger Dustin Poirier showed a few holes in his wrestling game but given the time that has passed since, I can imagine that his team at Tristar, Montreal have worked on this facet tremendously.
We’re in a time where the Irish mixed martial arts scene is booming again.
We saw it at Bellator Dublin last month and we’re going to continue to see the ripple-effect from that event throughout 2019.
Out of all of the Irish fighters plying their trade in the sport today, with the exception of Conor McGregor, Duffy is undoubtedly the one fighting at the highest level right now.
On the periphery of the most talent-rich top-15 in the sport, an impressive victory over the extremely dangerous Marc Diakiese could well be enough to get himself a ranked opponent.
Watch full fight: Joseph Duffy
Dispatches Of Mitch Clarke With Spectacular 25 Second Finish 👍👌 pic.twitter.com/aE6vNlWQli
— World of MMA (@CM_fights) July 8, 2016
After nearly a year-and-a-half out of action, expect Joseph Duffy to remind each and every one of us exactly why he is such a talent.
Diakiese is no joke. He is one of the most dynamic and explosive strikers in the game and he has displayed his ungodly power on more than one occasion in the past. With that being said, he’s also a fighter who is going through a rocky patch – a fighter who has gone 3-3 in the UFC with three losses in a row.
He’s got the tools to shut the man in front of him down and all things considered, he could well be fighting for his UFC career.
That’s one helluva fight right there.
Marc Diakiese needs a moment like this at #UFCHamburg tomorrow…
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) July 21, 2018
You’d have to imagine that the technical edge will go to the Irishman but with power like Diakiese’s, it really is hard to know.
In a time where displays of bravado and boisterousness can be enough to draw the eye, we should celebrating guys like Joe Duffy, who leave it up to their actions to earn our respect.
He might have lost in devastating fashion at UFC 217, but once the UFC London prelims are through, I think it’s safe to say that we will learn a lot about one of our premiere talents and his ability to make this long-awaited push for his career.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena