BY SEÁN P. FEENY
A FELLOW Irish UFC star has given Joseph Duffy his seal of approval as the Donegal man prepares to headline his first main event at UFC Fight Night 77 in Dublin. Meenbanad native Duffy was this week announced as the main event for UFC Fight Night which will be held in the 3Arena on October 24 proving that after two fights and two wins in the UFC his bosses have understandably huge faith in him.
‘Irish Joe’ will face Dustin Poirier, who is only too familiar to Irish MMA fans. Poirier lost to Conor McGregor en route to his UFC Interim Featherweight title last year. Since then Poirier has returned winning ways moving up a weight class to Lightweight.
UFC Star Cathal Pendred, who has backed fellow Irishman Duffy to beat Poirier, noted how the atmosphere of the occasion got to Poirier when he faced McGregor in Las Vegas in his weekly column in The Irish Mirror this week. “He was beaten by Conor in Vegas, when he just couldn’t deal with the atmosphere. It was remarkable to see. He broke down mentally. He just hadn’t expected the reaction he received when he came out for the weigh-in, the jeering of a couple of thousand Irish supporters, and he was a mess by the time he fought Conor.
“I was really taken aback by how badly he took it, given he has been around the circuit a long time. So it’s going to be really interesting to see how he deals with a packed 3Arena full of screaming home fans. The American should be able to deal with it at this level, but past history has proved other wise. We’ll just have to wait and see, and that’s what makes it so interesting as he faces Duffy in his home country. But having said that, Poirier is an experienced UFC performer and he represents a big step up for Joe.
“But it’s a great fight for the Donegal man, and it’s one he’s well capable of winning. Joe has been very impressive so far, finishing off both opponents – Jake Lindsay and Ivan Jorge – int he first round. He’s a different type of character to Conor – Joe is quiet, he puts the head down and he gets the job done.
“While Conor likes to taunt his opponents – it’s not that he hates them, he does it for fun, but in Poirier’s case he took it very personally – Joe lets his fighting do the talking. Obviously he doesn’t have Conor’s massive profile, but the reason why he’s only had two UFC outings is because he became a pro boxer for a couple of years. This is a massive opportunity for Joe and hopefully he takes it.”