The most recent time Todd Duffee weighed in for a fight, he was nearly in tears and overcome by the emotions of being back in the UFC. Now, he just hopes the journey can continue sooner rather than later.
Duffee (8-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who’s been on the sidelines since a December knockout win over Phil De Fries at UFC 155, today joined MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) to discuss his recovery from an undisclosed injury. He said he still doesn’t want to disclose the nature of his ailment, but he’s shooting for a late 2013 return.
“It’s been really frustrating,” Duffee said. “All I want to do is get healthy and get back to fighting.”
And the injury itself? What are the details?
“I think the closer I hold those cards to my chest, the better is is for myself,” the 27-year-old said. “It’s a long, extensive layoff, but I’ll be better for it in the long run. It’s a good break for my body to fix other injuries, too. But yeah, it’s pretty frustrating.”
Duffee thinks he could be cleared to fight again in October, and he hopes to get a fight booked for that month (or least no later than the end of the year). He said he was even more eager to get back in the cage after watching the heavyweights take center stage this past weekend at UFC 160.
The UFC, of course, first released Duffee back in 2010 after a 1-1 stint with the promotion, which included a UFC record seven-second knockout of Tim Hague. Neither he nor UFC President Dana White has given the specific reason for the release, though at the time, Duffee mentioned possible issues over his pay while White questioned the fighter’s commitment to the spot. But White left open the possibility of Duffee returning to the organization, and following a loss to Alistair Overeem and a knockout of Neil Grove on the international circuit, he got his second chance.
“Just being back in the UFC, it definitely – well, I was always competitive and working hard, but it definitely sort of wakes up parts of your brain,” Duffee said. “It was difficult being outside the UFC in my situation, so yeah, I’m a lot more excited than I’ve ever been before.”
Duffee, who stopped Phil De Fries and earned a “Knockout of the Night” award in his December return, said he was overcome by the reaction he got at UFC 155's weigh-ins and the following night at the event. While fans initially were mixed about Duffee, he said he got a lot more support and cheers than he expected with his return.
“I got an incredible reception, but I guess everyone loves a comeback story,” he said. “That was an incredible feeling. I didn’t know that something like that could have such an impact on you, but it felt really good.”
Even after his return, Duffee said he and White never really discussed the past issues. However, prior to UFC 155, he pulled aside the UFC boss and thanked him for a second chance. If they talk about it sometime in the future, that’s cool, he said. Otherwise, he wants to keep the past in the past, and instead, make the most of his current opportunity.
“I don’t think it matters,” he said. “I’m back. I’ve got my opportunities ahead of me. I’m not worried about rehashing old things. I’m looking ahead.”
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