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Joseph Duffy cleared to fight out contract, will test free-agent market in 2017

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It appears as though Joseph Duffy's UFC hiatus is about to come to an end.

According to multiple sources, the popular Irishman has recently come to terms with the organization on his future. The agreement: Duffy will be able to fight out his contract and test the free-agent market next year, after all. He has not agreed to a new deal with the promotion.

Duffy, who currently has one fight left on his deal, is expected to make his return to the Octagon in early 2017. It's unclear at this time who he will be fighting and where.

In September, Duffy revealed the UFC was refusing to book him in a fight after they failed to agree on a contract extension.

"I’m happy in the UFC," Duffy said on The MMA Hour, "and I feel I’m treated fairly, and I’ve enjoyed working with them, [but] the offer they made me, there’s no way I would accept that. Even if I lost my last fight I wouldn’t accept that."

The 28-year-old Duffy (15-2) most recently submitted Mitch Clarke in 25 seconds at UFN 90 in July.

"I don’t feel I’m a greedy person, but I know to secure my future, and I’m putting my body on the line and my health on the line," he said on the show.

"One shot and it could all be over, so I need to get to the point where I can start moving forward and my future isn’t a worry."

Duffy will now get a chance to do just that -- move forward -- early next year.