JOSEPH Duffy says he can feel the fire burning as he gets set to end a 16-month hiatus from the octagon this weekend.
The Burtonport man (16-4) faces Spaniard Joel Alvarez (16-2) as part of UFC Fight Night 173 on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.
Duffy has not fought since a March 2019 loss to Marc Diakiese in London and admits that he considered his mixed martial arts future in the interim as a troublesome rib injury nagged.
“I was watching the time pass before my eyes and I was getting frustrated, but there is excitement there again now,” Duffy said.
“This one feels different. I feel like I’m fired up.”
Duffy squares up to former AFL champion Alvarez on the preliminary portion of the Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2 card on ‘Fight Island’, aka Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
The period since his defeat to Diakiese has been testing for Duffy.
He said: “I was on the brink. Every time I would train, I wasn’t getting better and I was getting fed up with the whole thing.
I was in a bad head space. Things weren’t right. I just didn’t have things right. Those things have to be corrected. It’s hard to put the finger on them sometimes, but that’s the fight game.
“When I signed the new contract, I said that I wanted to be active. I wasn’t able to get going.
“I was getting tired. I’ve never struggled getting tired in my life. There are a few things I realised through this camp that my nutrition was messed up. I wasn’t as relaxed and everything was slow. When you’re not relaxed, you don’t see the opportunities.”
Alvarez lost to Damir Ismagulov in February 2019 in Prague before getting getting back to winning ways with a stoppage win over Danilo Belluardo in Stockholm. All 16 of the pro wins of ‘El Fonemeno’ have been inside the distance with 14 of them by submission.
Duffy is on a two-fight loss streak having also lost to James Vick by Tko before dropping the decision to Diakiese.
Now, though, the Donegal ace is gunning for a W again.
He said: “My last few performances have been embarrassing. To the standard that I hold myself to, when I watched them I was like: ‘This is ridiculous.’ I knew they weren’t a patch on what I’m capable of. I was getting a bit fed up, but I’m glad I’m back to the mindset that I’m in now.”Tags: