The Ohio native was helping teammate Aleksa Camur get ready for his fight on Dana White’s Contender Series when he ran into Duffee as he was in the midst of a training session to prepare for his first fight back in more than four years.
“We ran into each other at the [Performance Institute] and I was there training with Aleksa [Camur] for his Contender Series stuff and [a guy] said ‘are you supposed to be here right now?’ and I was confused by it,” Hughes said with a laugh when speaking to MMA Fighting. “The guy was like aren’t you two fighting and I had just gotten cleared from my injury.
“The next day my manager calls me and says ‘what do you think about Todd Duffee?’ and then it made sense.”
Once he was confirmed for the fight, Hughes understood why running into Duffee at the time was so odd but mostly he was just excited for the chance to face a fighter he watched knocking people out before he had even decided to make mixed martial arts his career.
Through five fights in the UFC, Duffee has only had one go past the first round and every contest has either ended with him winning or losing by knockout.
“I remember watching him when I was younger before I turned pro. He was wrecking people at that time,” Hughes said. “He goes out there and tries to hit home runs or he strikes out. There’s no in between with him.
“If we’re going to stand in the center of the cage and swing as hard as we can, I’m good with that. Bite down on your mouthpiece and go.”
Because Duffee is always looking for the knockout, Hughes knows it has also left him wide open for counter shots because his potent offense doesn’t leave much room for a whole lot of defense.
That’s what he hopes to expose when they start trading punches on Saturday night.
“I remember watching [him against Frank Mir] live on TV and he was real open and a short straight punch is going to land every time on a long, loopy punch,” Hughes said. “It’s been so long I’m sure he’s fixed some of those technical issues but I still think he’s going to try to come out and try to take my head off and I’m kind of looking forward to that.”
Because his UFC career got off to a bad start with a close, controversial split decision loss, Hughes is ready to reset the narrative with what he believes will be a non-stop action showdown with Duffee — even if the fight only lasts a matter of seconds.
While he’s not ready to call his shot on how the fight will end, Hughes can virtually guarantee that the judges can go ahead and enjoy a break during his fight with Duffee because he there’s no way he sees this fight ending in a decision.
“Take a bathroom break or whatever you have to do because I don’t see this going past the first or second round,” Hughes said. “That’s not the way he fights and I’ve been known when it gets into a brawl, I’m OK with it. I just don’t see it going to decision.”