Three years ago, Todd Duffee (Pictured) was dubbed by many pundits as the heavyweight division’s next big thing. He was fresh off a seven-second knockout victory, which at the time was recognized as the fasted KO in Octagon history, and was unblemished through six professional fights.
Then out of the blue, UFC president Dana White fired the now-27-year-old because of his “attitude problem.”
Duffee went on to lose his next two bouts, one of which was a 34-second thrashing by Alistair Overeem, but righted the ship against Neil Grove prior to getting called back up to the majors.
The UFC granted Duffee a reprieve when Phil De Fries’ UFC 155 opponent was pulled from their tango, and White says the slugger has been a model employee ever since.
“I had a beef with him a while ago,” White said of their rocky relationship. “I felt like he didn’t give a [expletive] if he was in the UFC or not. So if you don’t want to do business with us, then don’t do business with us.
“We ended up bringing him back and he’s been great through this whole thing.”
Duffee made the most of his second stint with the UFC by steamrolling De Fries in 124 seconds. Did the promising youngster simply need time to grow up? According to White, it was likely a case of ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.’
“I don’t know if the guy needed to mature or anything,” White shared. “I just think that once you get into the UFC, some of these guys start to get like, ‘Aw, this and that, I’m not being treated [right].’ And when they leave they’re like, ‘Holy [expletive]. It was actually pretty good over there.’
“I think he’s got great potential. He looked good [Saturday]. We’ll see.”