UFC lightweight Joe Duffy broke down exactly why it’s difficult for him to see himself training in his home-country of Ireland ever again.
This weekend’s UFC 217 will see lightweight Joe Duffy compete in perhaps the toughest fight of his career as he takes on the hugely underrated James Vick, just one fight shy of a main-card spot.
Vick, who stands at a towering height of 6-foot-3, will ask questions of Duffy’s skills that many of his past opponents could not have. For the most part, Joe’s rise – though impressive – has seen him face off against some of the roster’s lower-tiered 155lb-rs, with the exception of the one fighter who managed to beat him thus far, Dustin Poirier.
Duffy’s background in boxing, when coupled with his duo of black-belts in taekwondo and Japanese jujutsu – make him a very real threat in the division, something that caused matchmaker Sean Shelby to refer to him as one of the two most impressive unranked lightweights on the roster, with the other being his UFC 217 opponent Vick.
4-1 in the UFC ain’t a bad record at all, but with him now coming into his third year in the promotion, many will expect him to make his push into the top-15 sooner rather than later, something that a win this weekend would all-but-guarantee.
Duffy trains with the MMA giants at Tristar gym in Canada and while he is known across the pond to his Irish countrymen, they, of course, hold a man who Joe once defeated in a much higher regard.
In 2010, Duffy met a young Conor McGregor while competing on the Irish national MMA circuit, swiftly submitting him in the very first round of their fight – a crucial but important loss in the career of the up-and-coming future lightweight champ.
And while Duffy went on to have some success in Europe, a move to Tristar followed shortly after and in a recent interview with MMAFighting’s Luke Thomas, he explained exactly why he feels he could never train on Irish soil permanently again.
“If I went to train in Ireland where am I going to train? You know. If I went to SBG, are they going to take me in? Generally they go for homegrown fighters and I beat their main guy so I don’t know how he’s going to feel about that.
“I never felt like I would fit in there. I feel like I owe it to myself to come to a camp where I feel I fit in and I feel that will get the best out of me.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena