Joe Duffy: I never look too far ahead

With question marks remaining over his future with the UFC, the Donegal native heads into the final fight of his contract with his eyes firmly on the prize

Joe Duffy, UFC

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

As it stands, Joe Duffy looks set to test out the free agency following the final fight of his current contract at UFC London this weekend.

The UFC, he insists, will be his first port of call to negotiate a new deal and the Donegal native aims to continue his rise in the lightweight rankings.

With his future uncertain, is it difficult preparing for a fight that might not have any bearing on his future with the promotion?

"Not really," he tells Newstalk.com. "I think every fight is important regardless of the contract situation or not. It’s down to how much pressure you put on yourself.

"Obviously it’s in the back of your head, so you know that’s going on. But my whole priority is on winning the fight more than anything.

"You can’t talk to any other promotions until a month or two after your contract ends, I understand. This is all done through my manager.

"There’s been no offers. As soon as the fight is over, it’s the UFC I’ll be speaking with first and then go from there.

"Until this fight is over, it’s hard to gauge. I never look too far ahead.

"I’m thinking solely about the guy I’m fighting because if I start looking past him over thinking about any other stuff, then my eye isn’t on the prize.

"That’s how I’m approaching this fight. Until this fight is over, I’m not looking any further."

Joe Duffy heads into his final fight on his current UFC deal knowing a win could put him in a good position when he sits down to negotiate with the promotion. Image: ©INPHO/Gary Carr

And with the focus solely on Sweden's Reza Madadi, the 29-year-old says he has drawn on his experience of previous fights to help in his preparation.

"There’s hints of the [Dustin] Poirier fight the way Madadi switches stances and comes forward. He’s also got good wrestling. It’s similar in that sense.

"But this guy has never been stopped, so that’s a whole new experience. What I’ve learned from fighting guys before will no doubt help me in this one.

"I feel like I’ve got the ability to finish anyone. I work well under pressure, so if the right opportunity arises, I can snap them up.

"This fight is no different. If he gives me the opportunity, of course I can finish him. It’s just not necessarily something I will go out there looking for."

Duffy got back on track after his 25-second submission victory over Mitch Clarke at UFC Fight Night 90 last July, but his defeat Poirier may have stifled his progress.

"Dustin is in the top 10, so if I had beaten him I probably would have been fast-tracked. I don’t look at it as a negative, I always look at it as a positive. It took me the time I needed to get my level up. Now when I get into those fights, I’m going to be more prepared.

"I’m still on my first contract, so you don’t want to fight the top 10 guys when you’re not getting paid to fight the top 10 guys."

Speaking to this website, Icelandic welterweight Gunnar Nelson admitted that weight cutting practices in the UFC have hit near farcical levels. Duffy explains that he has not such problems hitting the 155lbs mark.

"Everything this time around has been very good. My weight is on point so everything is going to plan

"I start dieting pretty early, maybe six or eight weeks out. I like to get my weight down early. There is no point doing all this training and it all goes to waste because you’ve been stupid with the weight cut.

"I work with George Lockhart who’s the probably the best nutritionist in the business. He’s got all the numbers down, he knows exactly what I’ve eaten.

"He’s worked with hundreds of fighters over so many of these UFC shows. To be honest, when I work up here, I don’t have to give my weight another thought."

Watch Joe in action at UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs. Anderson live in the UK on BT Sport from 9pm GMT on Saturday, March 18, or catch the UFC FIGHT PASS Prelims from 5:30pm GMT.