Joseph Duffy has been training in Tristar ever since he signed on the dotted line with the UFC back in 2015.
The Irishman has already clocked an impressive 4-1 record in the Octagon, but for the first time in his UFC tenure he is preparing for his Madison Square Garden date against James Vick at UFC 217 alongside the gym’s best-know proponent, Georges St-Pierre.
With GSP returning to the Octagon for the first time in four years, you might think his camp would bring a different feel to Duffy’s preparations. Yet, “Irish Joe” claimed that the former welterweight champion has been ever present since he first stepped foot in the Montreal facility, which makes it hard for him to see a big difference from his previous camps.
“The truth is, it’s hard to say it’s very different,” Duffy told MMAFighting.com.
“Obviously, he brings in a lot of world-class guys in and we get the benefit of working with them too, but it’s hard to say it’s very different because we’re always training at the same time.
“A lot of people will talk about the buzz and everything – and don’t get me wrong there is an amazing atmosphere in Tristar because we’re all bouncing off each other at the minute – but I can’t really comment on it being different because Georges has been training solidly ever since I arrived over here.
“He’s always training, so other than the buzz around the gym and the guys he’s brought in, it’s pretty much business as usual. It’s got the same feel as all my other camps, with a bit more excitement.”
Although GSP is widely considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, his time away from competition and his move up to the middleweight class has forced a lot of people to write off his chances against Michael Bisping on Nov. 4.
According to Duffy, it would be “crazy” to write off any fighter who steps into the Octagon, never mind one of the most dominant champions in the history of the UFC.
“In a fighting sport, it’s crazy to write anyone off because it only takes one shot to end your night. That’s what I’d say about anyone that steps into the cage or Octagon, but then you have someone like Georges who has been there and done it all.
“Someone who has won the title and defended to the extent that Georges has, I think writing him off would be crazy,” Duffy said.
“At the same time, I think it works in his favor. It relieves that bit of pressure and it allows him to go in there and enjoy the fight. He can just do his thing.”
Duffy noticed the difference GSP’s return to competition brought to the media day at Tristar ahead of the event, with the Donegal man, GSP and Aiemann Zahabi all set to fight at MSG.
“There’s an excitement here, definitely. Take the media day yesterday. Normally, if we have a media day there are a few guys in, but that was the first time I have been at a media day when Georges is fighting and it was crazy.
“There was a mad amount of people here and there was definitely a different feel to it. I think that’s just the card too. It’s Madison Square Garden, there are three title fights, it’s just huge.
“It’s hard not to get excited,” he said.
At the media day, St-Pierre told The42.ie that he could see Duffy clinching the lightweight title under the UFC banner. Having looked up to the Canadian since he was a teenager, it meant a lot for Duffy to see GSP speak so highly of him.
“It’s amazing to see,” he said.
“Obviously, I’ve looked up to Georges when I was coming up as a teenager. I’ve followed his career all the way through. I can remember being back in my old room watching all of his fight videos and studying everything he was doing.
“I just wanted to do what he did. Once he burst on the scene he was looking for that title and then when he got it he was dominant.
“To hear those things coming from a guy like him, a guy that’s still involved in the sport, training the whole time and working on cutting edge stuff, it’s a huge compliment and something that means a lot to me.”