Fired-up James Vick pleads for ranked opponent, but 'can't put a gun to a guy's head'

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NEW YORK – James Vick is sick and tired of begging for ranked competition and hopes his impressive second-round TKO win over Joseph Duffy at UFC 217 will finally get him where he wants to be in the lightweight division.

Vick (12-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) picked up his eighth victory in a nine-fight UFC career on Saturday when he became the first to stop Duffy (17-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) with strikes. It was another solid performance, and having competed in the featured preliminary-bout prior to the pay-per-view main card at Madison Square Garden in New York, Vick hopes he’s finally put the division on notice.

“What else can I do?” Vick said following his win. “That was my third finish in a row, against a high-level opponent. That was the first time Joe Duffy’s ever been knocked out, and he had 18 professional fights. I better have got some attention.”

Vick knows that in the current UFC landscape, winning alone isn’t enough. He’s also aware that calling his shot is an important part of the game, and Vick came prepared to let the world know what he wants next.

Not only did Vick name the winner of next weekend’s UFC Fight Night 120 main event between Anthony Pettis (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) and Dustin Poirier (21-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) as his preferred next opponent, but he targeted the headlining spot of the recently announced UFC Fight Night 126 card on Feb. 18 in Austin as his preferred date and location.

“I’ll get on the card, but what I want is that main-event spot,” Vick said. “I’m 8-1. That’s one of the highest winning percentages in the UFC. It’s time to move forward now. I’m 30 years old. My goal is to be a world champion now. How many Joe Duffys do I have to beat?

“I want the winner of next week, Anthony Pettis vs. Dustin Poirier. I don’t want to shoot too low with a No. 3 guy that I’m not going to get, but Pettis or Poirier is ranked No. 8 in the world. Whoever wins is going to take that. So yeah, whoever wins that I want. The timeframe is perfect. Give them a couple weeks to heal up and get in camp.”

Although Vick is pushing for a big-fight opportunity, he said he’s been left disappointed before. Vick said he thinks UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby is doing his best to get him marquee fights, but there’s an issue finding willing opposition.

After beating a name like Duffy, he said he hopes that finally changes.

“Sean has been very good to me recently,” Vick said. “He tried as hard as he could to get a ranked guy, but they don’t want to fight me. They literally do not want to fight me. You can’t put a gun to a guy’s head.

“The thing is I’m in the high-risk, low-reward category right now. So I want to put myself into the high-reward category by making my name bigger. I’m doing my part, so hopefully the UFC, they’ve helped me recently in giving me a good push, and hopefully they continue to do so.”

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC 217 results: James Vick keeps rolling, TKOs Joseph Duffy with 1 tick left in second

James Vick kept on rolling Saturday night and wants the kind of name that will make him a contender in the lightweight division.

Vick (12-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) stopped Joseph Duffy (17-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) with a TKO with one second left in the second round after planting him with a big right uppercut.

The lightweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC 217 event at Madison Square Garden in New York. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on pay-per-view.

Duffy went to the center early and Vick circled outside. Vick landed a solid kick to the midsection 45 seconds in, but briefly took a seat when Duffy nearly caught it. Vick pushed his jab out a minute in, then countered a Duffy leg kick with one of his own. Vick faked a knee, then threw a right hand that whiffed. A right hand landed for Vick, and an uppercut came right behind it.

But Duffy landed a nice left over the top. Duffy caught a Vick kick and tripped him down, and a Duffy right hand found a home not long after that. With 90 seconds left, Duffy got inside and clinched up wtih Vick, but the two broke off not long after that. With 50 seconds left, Duffy took Vick down, then had to fend off a guillotine attempt.

Duffy worked body kicks in the second and had to stay as far at the end of Vick’s jab as he could. But Vick did well at finding his range, and while he didn’t land anything major for most of the round, he saved his best for the final 10 seconds of the round.

Vick landed a right uppercut that put Duffy on the canvas. Vick dove to the mat to go after him and landed 10 big hammerfists until the referee jumped in to call the fight – a fraction of a second before the horn sounded to end the round.

After the fight, Vick told announcer Joe Rogan he wants to headline the UFC’s “Fight Night” card in Austin, Texas, in February.

Vick won for the third straight time, all by stoppage. Duffy had a two-fight winning streak snapped.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 217 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan, Mike Bohn, Ken Hathaway and Abbey Subhan contributed to this report on site in New York.)

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 217's James Vick OK with some nerves but thinks some peers are 'straight-up scared'

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If you’re dealing with a particularly acute case of pre-fight jitters, it’s probably best not to count on James Vick for emotional support.

This Saturday, at UFC 217, Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) meets fellow lightweight Joseph Duffy (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC). It will be Vick’s ninth octagon outing and, the way he sees it, yet another chance to “live his dream.” Going out there and performing in front of an audience, Vick says, is what he trains for every day.

So, when he gets the impression that some of his colleagues would “back out in the last minute” if possible, Vick has a bit of a tough time conjuring up sympathy.

“It sounds funny, but it’s crazy how many fighters aren’t real fighters,” Vick told MMAjunkie Radio ahead of his FS1-televised preliminary card scrap. “I’ve seen it in the back warming up with some of these guys. They look like they’re (expletive) scared to death, like someone almost has to put a gun to their head to get them to walk to the cage.

“To me, that’s a sign of mental weakness. You shouldn’t be that scared or that nervous. That’s a joke to me.”

Now, Vick is not saying he’s never nervous.

“But some of these guys are just straight-up scared,” Vick said.

As an example, Vick presented his own case. When Beneil Dariush knocked him out in the first round of their UFC 199 appointment, putting an end to Vick’s five-fight UFC streak and overall undefeated record, it was “the most humiliating day” of his life.

Still, Vick came back. And faced with the menacing Abel Trujillo at UFC Fight Night 104, he made the most of it – walking away with a third-round submission win and snapping Trujillo’s three-fight streak. He even ate some hard shots in the process.

The conclusion?

“Some fighters can handle (expletive),” Vick said. “Some people can’t. That’s just my opinion.”

Keeping a cool head will certainly be a valuable asset on Saturday. After all, not only can a win over Duffy finally earn him some rankings love, but this will also mean his first time fighting at New York City’s iconic Madison Square Garden.

Again, Vick is not expecting the emotions to be absent as he makes his walkout then. But, once the idea does sink in, he believes they’ll mostly be positive ones.

“I guess when I get there, and I see everything, it’s probably going to hit me,” Vick said. “And I’m going to be like a little kid in a candy store. Just excited, you know.”

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go towww.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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UFC 217 face-offs: Jorge Masvidal with a throat-slash, Randy Brown with a phone call

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NEW YORK – Check out the face-offs from today’s UFC 217 media day, which had a few humorous moments.

UFC 217 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Today, before the stacked event, some fighters who aren’t part of the trio of title fights met with media members and had a customary face-off for the cameras. And they offered a little of everything.

Welterweights Jorge Masvidal (32-12 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Stephen Thompson (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC)? It ended with a Masvidal throat-slash and a quick exit from the stage.

Middleweights Johny Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) and Paulo Borrachinha (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC)? A few laughs as ex-champ Hendricks seemed to forget the face-off positions.

Featured preliminary-card fighters and lightweights Joseph Duffy (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and James Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC)? Polite smiles before a fight that could deliver some stellar striking.

Heavyweights Mark Godbeer (12-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Walt Harris (10-6 MMA, 3-5 UFC)? Upbeat, as always.

Light heavyweights Corey Anderson (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Ovince Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC), former training partners and friends? A bro hug, of course.

Welterweights Randy Brown (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Mickey Gall (4-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC)? A few laughs as Brown got a call during his face-off.

And light heavyweights Ion Cutelaba (13-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Michal Oleksiejczuk (12-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who close out the UFC Fight Pass prelims? No love lost here.

Check out all of the face-offs above.

And for more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Joseph Duffy: McGregor vs. Ferguson the right match, but not because it's owed to division

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Joseph Duffy wants to see the UFC lightweight division restored to its natural order as much as anyone, but he doesn’t view it as Conor McGregor’s responsibility to ensure that’s what happens next.

It’s been nearly a year since McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) captured the UFC lightweight title. In the meantime he’s taken a break from competition to witness the birth of his first child, and also crossed over into boxing for a high-profile showdown with Floyd Mayweather.

After the bout with Mayweather, there’s been rampant speculation about what “The Notorious” will do next. He’s listed several potential options, but the leading scenario coming from the McGregor camp appears to be a desire for a trilogy matchup with Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) rather than a title unification bout with interim 155-pound champ Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC).

Duffy (16-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who defeated McGregor by first-round submission in a November 2010 fight under the Cage Warriors banner, said no one should have influence over McGregor’s decision other than himself. In Duffy’s opinion, McGregor has earned that much.

“Look what he’s done,” Duffy told MMAjunkie at a Wednesday media event at Tristar Gym in Montreal. “He’s done amazing things. He’s won the featherweight (title), obviously jumped up, won the lightweight (title), jumped across to boxing, but he’s done a lot of work himself also. He’s done all the media stuff, everything else. Whatever his move next is going to be the best move for him, and that’s his decision to make.”

Duffy, who meets James Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) in a 155-pound at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, is looking to climb the ranks into a championship fight of his own. He just signed a new seven-fight contract with the UFC and said he hopes to hold the belt before the end of that deal. For a budding contender such as himself, it would seem preferable to have a champion who will defend against the top challenger regardless of circumstance, but McGregor’s UFC career has been far from traditional.

In terms of knowing where he stands in the weight class, Duffy believes a unification match between McGregor and Ferguson is the logical move. However, he’s not going to criticize McGregor or the UFC for opting to go in the direction of the more profitable option in Diaz.

“For the rankings’ sake, I think obviously Conor against Ferguson is the right match,” Duffy said. “It kind of legitimizes the rankings again. I believe that’s probably the right matchup. It will stabilize the division again and then at least we’ve got a pecking order again so you know where you stand and what you need to do to get to the top of the pecking order.”

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Joseph Duffy meets James Vick at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in New York

The UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden in November continues to build with the addition of a new lightweight fight.

Joseph Duffy (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is set to take on James Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) at UFC 217. UFC officials announced the new booking today.

UFC 217 takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Duffy recently signed a new deal with the UFC and will be going after his third straight wins. The former Cage Warriors lightweight title challenger came to the UFC in 2015 and stopped Jake Lindsey with a first-round TKO, then picked up a bonus for a submission of Ivan Jorge at UFC Fight Night 72.

But in Jaunary 2016, Dustin Poirier took a decision from him and snapped his four-fight winning streak, as well as some of the momentum that came from being billed as, at the time, being the last fighter to beat Conor McGregor. After the loss to Poirier, though, he submitted Mitch Clarke in just 25 seconds and, most recently, took a decision from Reza Madadi in March in London.

James Vick

Vick has back-to-back wins in 2017, both by stoppage, and both in his home state of Texas. In February at UFC Fight Night 104, he submitted Abel Trujillo with a D’Arce choke in Houston. He called for a fight at UFC 211 in Dallas, and he got it. There, he stopped Marco Polo Reyes with a first-round TKO.

Those wins got him back on track – and got him a new UFC contract – after he suffered a knockout loss to Beneil Dariush at UFC 199 in June 2016, a setback that was his first as a pro after a 9-0 start to his career, including five straight UFC wins.

With the addition, the latest UFC 217 card includes:

  • Champ Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – for middleweight title
  • Champ Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw – for bantamweight title
  • Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas – for women’s strawweight title
  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Aiemann Zahabi
  • Paulo Borrachinha vs. Johny Hendricks
  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik
  • Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ion Cutelaba
  • Jorge Masvidal vs. Stephen Thompson
  • Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins
  • Randy Brown vs. Mickey Gall
  • Joseph vs. James Vick

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

A former pro boxer who's beaten Conor McGregor, Joseph Duffy has unique insight on May-Mac

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For the week that culminated in Jon Jones masterfully regaining his position as MMA’s most potent exponent, we were offered a brief but profound distraction from the incessant cacophony that has ensued since it was announced that Conor McGregor will box Floyd Mayweather.

Jones’ stunning third-round knockout of Daniel Cormier in Saturday’s UFC 214 main event not only saw him recapture the UFC light-heavyweight title, but also became a brief embodiment of sport’s redemptive powers.

Only the most ardent of cynics could not appreciate the catharsis Jones reveled in as he dropped to his knees inside the octagon he has rarely graced for the past three years, once again sporting the belt that no opponent has been able to take from him.

In many respects, the context could be taken as the anthesis of how informed and misinformed people alike have come to view the boxing match between McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, and arguably the greatest pugilist of his generation, Mayweather.

Gaudy, cynically conceived money-making scheme or not, McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Mayweather (49-0 boxing) will, unforeseen circumstances notwithstanding, pit their skills against each other at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in three weeks’ time.

Of course, given that McGregor has absolutely no professional boxing experience, there’s an overwhelming consensus that Mayweather will finally amass a 50-0 record with minimal effort.

And yet, there’s a lingering, albeit tentatively held, school of thought that the Dubliner might just confound the naysayers once again.

Those who espouse it believe McGregor’s speed, size, power and age are liable to offset the canny rear guard that ensured Mayweather spent two decades largely unfamiliar with the inconvenience of shipping a significant blow.

Of the chain of experts who have offered their musings and predictions for the bout, very few have any actual experience in transitioning from mixed martial arts to boxing. Fewer still can say they fought and beat McGregor.

There is a man, however, who has long since had both distinctions on his resume: UFC lightweight Joseph Duffy (19-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC). Having competed in both disciplines, the Irishman, who’s 7-0 as a pro boxed, admitted the general level of boxing in elite MMA is rudimentary, but that’s not necessarily an indictment of the latter.

“The standard isn’t high enough for a boxing match, but MMA is very different,” Duffy told MMAjunkie. “With the small gloves on, you haven’t got to be as technical because it’s easier for the shots to slip through and to get stoppages, and sometimes a wilder fighter can catch you off guard quicker than a technical fighter. It’s just different.”

Duffy burst onto the European regional circuit in 2008 and racked up 11 straight wins, including a 39-second submission of McGregor at Cage Warriors 39, before Ivan Musardo handed him his first pro loss.

The defeat came in October 2011, and it would be more than three years before Duffy competed in MMA again. On the advice of his then coaches, he decided to try his hand at professional boxing, but unlike McGregor, Duffy started at the very bottom. It proved a jarring culture shock.

“It was definitely tough,” he said. “I remember my first session that was officially only boxing, and the intensity and attention to detail in that first hour and a half was crazy. I had a lot to learn. I immediately wondered if I was going to be able to do it, but out of stubbornness, I wouldn’t have been able to give up.

“The type of fitness is very different. We obviously cover some of that in MMA, but there’s a level of comfort you have to get to. I remember sparring high level guys and there was almost a fight-like nervousness every time you’d go to a new gym.”

Duffy may have been preparing patiently for his introduction to the professional ranks, but it wasn’t long before the calibre of training partner improved exponentially. The Donegal native shared a ring with Chris Eubank Jr., who is now the IBO super-middleweight champion. It was a tough but enlightening day at the office for the newcomer.

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Source: MMA Junkie

As an Irishman with a new UFC deal, Joseph Duffy is an endangered species

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As is befitting of the man, news that Irish lightweight Joseph Duffy had signed a new seven-fight UFC deal following a brief spell as a free agent was accompanied by minimal fanfare.

There was no bombast, nor were multiple members of the 155-pound division subjected to impromptu challenges on Twitter, in some transparent attempt to hog a little more of the spotlight while his name was in circulation.

That’s just not Duffy’s way, and it never will be. But, if it were, the UFC may not have allowed the Donegal native to fight out his old contract with a routine win over Reza Madadi at UFC Fight Night 107 in March, and then entertain offers from other promotions before finally tabling the sort of deal he felt deserving of.

Timing also played a significant role in the relatively subdued response to the UFC retaining the services of one of Europe’s most potent combatants.

In the hours after Pete Carroll of MMAFighting.com broke the story of Duffy (19-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) committing his longterm future to the world’s biggest promotion, another Irishman, Conor McGregor, took to the stage of Barclays Center in Brooklyn to trade insults with Floyd Mayweather. There’s just no competing with that.

Had Duffy not signed on the dotted line, McGregor would have been left as the sole Irish-born fighter established on the UFC roster.

Just two years ago, when Duffy announced himself to the wider MMA audience with a first-round TKO of Jake Lindsey on his promotional debut at UFC 185, that scenario would have been unthinkable.

Irish fighters were ubiquitous among the ranks of the UFC as the first generation from the island bounded in behind McGregor. But now, after a slew of retirements and pink slips, they’re an endangered species.

On reflection, Duffy is somewhat taken aback by the brevity of the Celtic culling, but he’s confident the status quo will be temporary. In typically modest fashion, he also doubted whether his absence would have been keenly felt.

“To be honest, it was strange the way it happened, and it all seemed to happen very quick,” Duffy told MMAjunkie. “You had (Cathal Pendred, Paddy Holohan and Aisling Daly) retiring, and it was just so quick how it all thinned out.

“I’m not sure me leaving would have been too much of a loss because there’s always going to be a lot of talent coming through in Ireland. We love our combat sports, so I’m sure the future is going to be bright for the country.”

Veteran flyweight and Irish MMA icon Neil Seery hung up his gloves following a submission loss to Alexandre Pantoja just under a fortnight ago at UFC Fight Night 113, leaving McGregor as the lone survivor from that famous night at Dublin’s 3Arena in 2014 when Ireland was briefly the epicenter of the MMA universe.

Of course, Russian-born featherweight Artem Lobov, who grew up in Ireland, proudly flies the flag of both countries when he competes, while SBG Ireland team member Gunnar Nelson is a beloved adopted son of the Emerald Isle.

Another SBG man, Charlie Ward, has fought and lost twice under the UFC’s banner, but his UFC stint only materialized due to his connection with McGregor.

Given he has not lived in Ireland since childhood, Duffy was always somewhat of an outlier as an Irish fighting entity, but his connection to home has never waned. In fact, he draws strength from it daily.

“From day one, right back to my Cage Warriors days,” Duffy said, “that’s what my inspiration and drive was. I remember hearing about the bars being full at home with people who were watching the Cage Warriors live streams. That spurred me on even more.

“Every training camp, I remember the thoughts of people sitting in the bar watching the fight and everyone who traveled over, and that’s always been one of my inspirations. And that’s not to even mention all the fans from Wales and England who have followed me. It all means a lot to me.”

The son of a fisherman, Duffy was born close to the fishing village of Burtonport on the untamed but beautiful northwest coast of Ireland.

When the fishing industry began to dry up there, his father followed his uncle to work as tunneller in Wales. When Duffy was nine months old, the entire family made the move.

The Duffys returned to Ireland for a time when Joseph was small child, before returning to Wales, while family vacations to Donegal were frequent.

As such, Duffy was, in some people’s eyes, neither quite Irish or Welsh. But he knew exactly who he was.

“Since I was a kid, I was never one to follow the click or the bubble,” Duffy said.” Living in Wales and being Irish, I didn’t fit in there. Then coming home after living in Wales, there were people who wouldn’t consider me Irish.

“But if you let that all bother you, you’ll get nothing done. I was always proud of being Irish, right the way through school, and all my friends knew it very well. I’ve still got all my friends from Donegal, the ones I grew up with.”

In total, beginning with Tom Egan at UFC 93, and concluding with Ward’s loss at the hands of Galore Bofando, also at UFC Fight 133 in Glasgow, a total of 10 Irish-born fighters have fought in the UFC.

And every one of them has been supported with a manic fervor by their compatriots, which is a hallmark of the Irish sports fan; they rarely do half measures. In that respect, Duffy is proud to be native athlete they can rally around.

“No matter what sport it is, the Irish fans have always proved themselves and their support is always incredible,” he said. “The Irish fans will always get behind the likes of Gunnar Nelson and Artem Lobov, so it’s almost like there are more of us.

“You see it when Conor fights, with the amount of them that turn up. It would have been a bit of shame for the Irish fans to have nobody to get behind if Conor did decide to knock it on the head.”

Although McGregor has said he will return to MMA to defend his UFC lightweight title in December, his projected windfall for the boxing match with Mayweather next month is such that might he think otherwise.

Should that be the case, Duffy will be, for the time being at least, the last Irishman standing in the UFC, while over in Bellator, James Gallaghershould continue to make waves.

Training at the Tristar gym under Firas Zahabi and Eric O’Keefe, Duffy has been a resident of Montreal for more than two years. And while his skills are being honed in Canada, it’s Ireland where Duffy finds the fuel to compete.

“Before a camp, I try to get home,” Duffy said. “Because, when I go home and speak to people, and hear how much it means to them, it reminds me of that. That’s the difficult part, because when you’re away from it, sometimes you can forget.

“Some of the things people say to me is such a motivation, and I remember those words all through camp. If you’re having a bad session or things aren’t going your way, it those words you think of to push you on. And they were some of the people who really motivated me to do well.”

After defeating Ivan Gorge via first-round submission in his sophomore promotional appearance at UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow, Duffy took a trip back to Donegal to catch up with friends and family. What awaited him was a gesture he’ll never forget.

“I remember going home just after the Glasgow fight, and my cousins surprised me up the town, and lot of people from the town came out to welcome me home,” he said. “Then my best friend organized something for me after a festival that was going on, so home has always meant a great deal to me.”

At 29 and with his professional future secure, Duffy feels a sense of urgency about getting back in the cage and resuming his ascent through arguably the most exacting division in the sport.

And, just on the off-chance a reminder to do was required, he’s had plenty of prompting from the green hoards.

“The Irish fans on social media have been nagging me to get more active, and I haven’t been able to because I’ve been working on my game, but now I want to start putting on shows for those guys,” Duffy said.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie