Hours before the UFC’s first fight card of 2016, one of the most interesting fights on the card is one hidden behind a pay wall. No, I’m not speaking of any of the fights on the pay-per-view, although they certainly aren’t hurting for fun and interesting match-ups. The fight I’m referring to is Dustin Poirier versus Joseph Duffy, a battle between two lightweights that is the final fight on UFC’s Fight Pass segment of the card.
There will most assuredly be violence in this fight. Their in cage personalities and past bouts are all indicators that this should be an action packed affair. Yet another reason why the fight is interesting is the potential that both competitors have, although Duffy more so than his counterpart.
Joseph Duffy, and the Appeal of Ascension
Part of the reason why watching a fighter, or any athlete compete, is to watch them ascend to new heights. When Georges St-Pierre was on the rise, everyone wanted to see just how far he could go, see if their were limits to his potential. Similarly, Ronda Rousey looked to be limitless, until she met Holly Holm. Conor McGregor is still currently in the middle of his upwards swing. The appeal of MMA is to see fighters compete in visceral pugilism, but also to see just how far they can go against the particular circumstances facing them.
What we see right now with Joseph Duffy is the beginnings of that swing to the top. He’s 2-0 in the UFC, and his limits aren’t really known yet. He’s not as extroverted as his fellow countryman and current featherweight champion McGregor, but he is an exciting fighter and has a victory over “The Notorious” one. These things are excellent ways to start building up the momentum and launch into the next level.
Poirier is a tested veteran with a similarly fan-friendly style, and looks rejuvenated at lightweight. The difference between his potential and Duffy’s is that we have already seen his limitations. At featherweight he was good enough to be in the mix with title contenders, but would drop the crucial fights. Searching for a resurgence, he moved back up to 155lbs. The question is, will that change in styles be enough? On a fight card with Robbie Lawler as the champion, and Andrei Arlovski competing in the co-main event, I’m not willing to discount Poirier’s chances.
Joseph Duffy is one of two fighters currently in the middle of unfettered momentum toward the top on the UFC 195 fight card, the other being Russian striker Albert Tumenov. But even Tumenov stumbled in the opening stage of his UFC career. Duffy has the opportunity to sling shot forward in his division and turn some heads in the process. We don’t really know Duffy’s limits, and that is generally the most exciting to watch the career of a fighter, as they continue to shock us by moving forward against all obstacles. Duffy can do just that tonight.