Joseph Duffy targets Croke Park date with Conor McGregor – and vows to beat 'The Notorious' again
Joseph Duffy will headline UFC Fight Night 77 in Dublin, but already has his sights set on Conor McGregor and chalking up another win against the MMA superstar.
Born in Donegal and raised in Wales, Duffy was earmarked for greater things after defeating McGregor in under 40 seconds on his Cage Warriors debut in Cork back in 2010. He joins Artemij Sitenkov as one of two fighters to defeat the Dubliner since his MMA debut in 2008.
Since that win five years ago, their respective career paths have gone in very different directions.
McGregor is the interim UFC featherweight champion following his stunning victory over Chad Mendes at UFC 189 and will look to take on Jose Aldo in a title unification match, most likely in Las Vegas.
Duffy's story has taken a few twists and turns since that victory on Leeside five years ago.
After suffering a hand injury, Duffy took up boxing and quickly gained a 7-0 record in the ring, but after six years as a full-time athlete, decided to hang up his gloves. He considered giving up on sport entirely, but was persuaded to return to MMA and will headline UFC Dublin at the 3Arena when he takes on Dustin Poirier on October 24.
"Dustin's a great fighter, he's been on a great run since he moved to 155 [lbs], but I'm one of the best fighters in the world," he told Independent.ie.
"I feel like this is the time to prove it."
Should McGregor defeat Aldo in the mouth-watering clash, it is widely expected that the Dubliner will have a title defence at Croke Park to cater for his growing legion of supporters.
The short-term focus is on Poirier, but Duffy admits that a re-match with McGregor at GAA headquarters would be the "ideal" scenario.
"Without a doubt," Duffy replied when asked if he would like to take on 'The Notorious' again.
"Conor is the interim champion now and regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound [fighters] in the world. That's where we're all striving to be.
"That fight would be ideal, Croke Park, main event, sounds good to me.
"It would be a Donegal/Dublin All-Ireland Final."
McGregor has blazed a trail since his UFC debut – five of his six victories have come by way of TKO – but Duffy remains confident he has the game to upset McGregor again.
"I'm pretty confident in my game. I believe I would beat Conor.
"Every fighter has to be confident in their own ability. I believe he hasn't faced someone like myself, someone who is not going to break, someone who he can't get into their head, someone who loves being in that Octagon."