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12th Mar 2018

It’s really bizarre seeing Joseph Duffy talk about Conor McGregor like this


Ben Kiely

Joseph Duffy

Talking smack about other fighters has never been Joseph Duffy’s style.

When Conor McGregor called Joseph Duffy’s nationality into question, the Donegal man ate the shot like a champ.

Shortly after Duffy was announced as the headliner for the third UFC Dublin event, McGregor did his best to start a new beef. He called him ‘Welsh Joe’, ‘London Joe’ and ‘Canadian Joe’ in an effort to belittle his actual moniker, ‘Irish Joe’. However, Duffy remained unbothered by what his compatriot had to say about him.

“I’m not too bothered what Conor’s thoughts are on things. I said to myself , I’m not gong to really gain anything from a trash-talk exchange,” Duffy explained on the MMA Hour.

Taking shots?

Duffy rarely brings up his lightning quick submission win over Conor McGregor in Cage Warriors. When he does, it’s usually to back up his confidence in winning a sequel should it ever happen. That’s the type of mindset one would expect from a fighter competing at such an elite level.

It’s even rarer that Duffy talks about McGregor in a negative light. As he has said numerous times, trash-talking simply isn’t his style.  However, in a recent interview with TMZ, he had some interesting comments about ‘the Notorious.’ He wasn’t trash-talking per se, but also wasn’t talking about the Dubliner in an overly positive light.

Admittedly, he did call McGregor a ‘great athlete’. Although, when asked about how well McGregor could transition to Irish politics (odd question, we now), he made reference to his ‘cockiness’ and ‘brash’ personality as traits the ‘hard-working’ and ‘down to Earth’ Irish voting public wouldn’t get behind.

Under new management

Duffy was recently signed by outspoken manager Ali Abdel-Aziz. So it perhaps unsurprising that Duffy made a point of playing down McGregor’s chances of accepting a fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, another client of Abdel-Aziz.

“I’d be surprised if it happened, that’s my first initial thought. Obviously that fight is a big risk for Conor, but I don’t see Conor stopping Khabib’s takedowns… He hasn’t defended any of the belts yet, so to defend against someone of the quality of Khabib would be a surprising decision.”

It’s not exactly a hot take. Plenty of folks would favour Nurmagomedov against McGregor, but it’s just unusual to hear someone like Duffy say it.

Duffy’s backing Nurmagomedov to beat Tony Ferguson at UFC 223. However, he claimed that ‘if’ McGregor’s going to take a fight, he would take one that he’s got ‘something to gain from’ and ‘nothing to lose’. He cited a welterweight title shot against Tyron Woodley as a more plausible next step for McGregor.

There’s aren’t exactly devastating burns from Duffy, but the manner in which he has suddenly started speaking out is noteworthy. It’s just a little weird.