The Irish UFC fighter talks about the strength of the 155lbs division and headlining his own show
UFC fighter Joe Duffy admits he's unlikely to ever reach the soaring heights of popularity that Conor McGregor has garnered during his four years with the promotion.
McGregor last year made history by becoming the first person to ever hold titles in two different weight classes concurrently and headlined the UFC's first show at Madison Square Garden.
His brash attitude has garnered him fans globally and he holds the record for the UFC's highest PPV shows, his rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 topping the pile with a whopping 1.6 million buys.
While he has done much to promote the sport in Ireland, compatriot Duffy says he'll never garner the support that McGregor has.
"Conor has gone mainstream," he told Newstalk.com. "He’s huge. I don’t think I’ll ever get the same support as him, because that’s his character.
"The fans enjoy that. I attract a different type of fanbase, but I’m very grateful for the amount of support I get from my fans to be honest. I’m very lucky to have that level of support."
Two belts, history. Conor McGregor leaves the Octagon after beating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 last year. Image: Jason Silva/Zuma Press/PA Images
The pair currently compete in the same weight class, with McGregor out of action until the arrival of his first child later this year.
In his absence, Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson were set to fight each other for a shot at the interim title. Nurmagomedov was forced to pull out of the fight on short notice due to complications from a weight cut and scrapped as the UFC 209 co-main event.
"The fight that was made, Khabib and Ferguson, is going to be the interim title fight. Til that fight gets done, that’ll be the new champion and we move on from there. I don’t think it changes things too much.
"These are fighters I feel I can definitely match. I didn’t think I could match them, I’d be wasting my time. I feel I have a different skillset to those guys, but it’s definitely a fight that I feel I’d be interested in. These are winnable fights."
Of course, Duffy knows the disappointment of having to withdraw from a headline event. After suffering concussion in the lead up to his headline fight with Dustin Poirier in October 2015, the Donegal native admits he's happy to be fighting so close to home this weekend.
"Obviously it was a sickner with the whole Dublin thing. But being back here and seeing how accessible it is for so many people who have followed me from day one, it’s almost like a home fight.
"London is a central hub and probably the most convenient place for everyone. It’s definitely got that feel to it.
"When the Dublin fight came up, it was an opportunity I jumped at. There’s just something special about fighting at home. With a home crowd, especially somewhere like the 3Arena, that was a big deal for me. That was definitely something that if it ever came up, I’d be crazy not to."
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.