“Obviously, I would’ve been happier if I had gotten the win against Poirier, (if I had) done the complete run without hiccups, but in the long run, I definitely feel like it’s going to be a lesson that was beneficial. I can’t complain – most of the fights have gone as good as I could’ve hoped and this one will be no different.”
In this one, Duffy will be up against Sweden’s Reza Madadi. As fate had it, fellow UFC lightweight and wrestling standout Rustam Khabilov visited Tristar Gym towards the end of camp, which came in handy in preparing for a strong grappler like Madadi.
“Obviously, it’s good to train with high-level guys and what better guy than someone like Rustam. So, when he’s here – hopefully it’ll be on a full-time basis – I want to get some work in with an elite-level guy.”
Despite elite-level training partners, Duffy is not looking past Madadi, with whom he is set to close out UFC London’s preliminary card.
“I’m only looking as far as the fight. Obviously, I know I’ve got my hands full. Reza, he’s never been stopped, he always gives everyone a hard fight, he upset Michael Johnson . So, pretty much, my life stops on March 18 and after that, everything else continues. He’s very tough. He can beat anyone on his night.”
Duffy, though, vows to take the night of March 18 from Madadi. After losing to Poirier and spending eight months on the sidelines following his last win, the Donegal native isn’t looking for a restart, but is simply confident in his ability to constantly learn and continue to be successful based on the combative foundation he started building at five years old when he took up Taekwondo classes.
It’s a mentality that he has always been relishing, but with one of the sharpest minds of the sport now in his corner, Duffy has taken the intellectual side of the game to a new level.
“Firas (Zahabi) is one of the smartest people I know,” Duffy said of Tristar gym’s head coach, who has led the likes of Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald , among others, to astonishing success inside the Octagon.
“He said to me (that) we should be addicted to learning. And when he said it to me it really stuck in my head because that’s the aspect of training that I like. When I’m learning, that’s what gives me the buzz.”