After more than two and a half years away from the UFC, Todd Duffee
was relieved to get back in the Octagon and score a win Dec. 29 at
The 27-year-old heavyweight stopped Philip De
Fries with punches 2:04 into the first round.
“It’s a big relief,” Duffee told the Sherdog
Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I can actually kind of relax
for the fact that all I have to worry about now is training and
fighting. I don’t have to be sitting on the phone trying to figure
out when can I get a fight.”
Duffee debuted in the UFC with a seven-second knockout of Tim Hague in
August 2009. However, he was released after a loss to Mike Russow
and struggled to get fights outside of the promotion.
“The big thing, I think, [about] this time away was it hurt my
development,” Duffee said. “I think I could have improved a lot
more in the last two years had I not been dealing with some of the
situations I had.”
Duffee was 1-1 in his time outside of the UFC, losing via knockout
Overeem before stopping Neil Grove.
His inability to stay active caused him to consider retirement.
“I was at the point financially that the efforts I was putting in,
it wasn’t paying off,” Duffee said. “It didn’t make a lot of sense.
You start feeling stupid after a certain amount of time, like how
delusional am I? But it did pay off, and I’m excited that I’ve got
things back on track.”
Not only is Duffee back in the UFC, he has settled at one of the
premier training camps in MMA: American Kickboxing Academy. There,
he trains alongside UFC heavyweight champion Cain
Velasquez and also Daniel
Cormier, among others.
“I think wrestling’s a huge part of the sport, and that’s what I’ve
always kind of been chasing, to get that kind of training, and I’m
getting it,” Duffee said. “Obviously [AKA] is going to help me
there. It’s going to help me everywhere. It’s a good camp, and the
best thing about it is they’ve got great bodies in there to work
with and we all work together really well.”
Duffee sees himself sticking with AKA, and though he once
considered retirement, he sees himself fighting for some time as
“In my career it’s been pretty evident that I’ve seen some of the
absolute highs of the highs of this sport and I’ve also seen some
of the lows of the lows,” he said. “That’s everybody in this sport.
If they stick around long enough and they really stick through it,
that stuff’s going to happen. To sum it up, it’s been a roller
coaster, but I’ve still found a way to really truly enjoy it.”
Listen to the full
interview (beginning at 1:13:17).