Joseph Duffy has had a fine run in the UFC thus far.
The Donegal fighter has gone 3-1 since joining the promotion in 2015, scoring three exciting first-round finishes. He looked utterly sensational in his debut, KO’ing Jake Lindsey in under two minutes and he followed that up by becoming the first man to submit Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt Ivan Jorge. In his most recent outing, he somehow tapped Mitch Clarke in just 25 seconds.
Sandwiched in between the Jorge and Clarke wins, Duffy suffered his sole defeat, via decision to Dustin Poirier at UFC 195. There was no shame in that loss, though. It came in a tough, gruelling, entertaining fight against a seasoned veteran coming off of impressive back-to-back stoppage wins.
However, it still may have cost him dearly.
On March 18th, Duffy faces Reza Madadi at UFC Fight Night 107 in London. The completion of that fight will fulfil his contractual obligations to the company. As of yet, he has not agreed a new contract and negotiations have concluded, for the time being at least, so ‘Irish Joe’ will become a free agent at that point.
The 28-year-old Tristar representative feels as though the UFC’s failure to meet the financial demands he made during those recent negotiations has a lot to do with that bloody loss to Poirier.
“For them, it was probably just a business. They were looking at Dustin for the third fight and then maybe me and Conor [McGregor] again in the future,” Duffy told Tom Rooney of MMAJunkie. “I would presume that was what was in their head, and then after the loss to Dustin, maybe they pulled back a bit and might have had second thoughts. It’s hard to guess what they were thinking. But for me, every time I go in there, I try to put on an exciting fight. That’s what they ask of us and that’s what I try to bring to the table.”
Indeed, it’s an understandable assumption.
When he was signed by the UFC, Duffy was the ‘last man to beat Conor McGregor’. That label brought value with it and the promotion’s brass must have been hoping Duffy would progress to a high enough level that they could insert him into a rematch with McGregor at some point.
An all-Irish showdown with an intriguing backstory, that fight had serious potential.
A loss wasn’t in that script though, and one to a man that McGregor had already squashed in just one minute and 46 seconds really disrupted the narrative.
To make matters worse, his ‘last man to beat Conor McGregor’ tag was reassigned to Nate Diaz a couple of months later.
A win over Mitch Clarke, no matter how quick or convincing, wasn’t going to restore the lustre his reputation lost in those early months of 2016.
Still, while he may no longer look like a potential future opponent for his ‘Notorious’ countryman, Duffy has certainly been an exciting addition to the roster. The financial details of the recent negotiations are unknown, but based on his performances, Duffy deserves a great deal better than what his initial contract dictated. The fighter told Rooney that he started off at $16,000 show money for his first fight, with a win-bonus worth the same sum, and with every win $2,000 was added to his next payout.
So, after he is finished with Madadi, Duffy is going to let things play out and consider offers from elsewhere.
“I’m just going to see how the chips fall. I know how everything works with the UFC, so if I got the right deal it would be great,” he said. “But I’m not leaning toward anything because, who knows – the other promotions could be just as good or better.”