UFC star Conor McGregor has been accused of trying to turn fans against former opponent Joe Duffy as he entered the UFC.
Duffy and McGregor faced off in Cage Warriors back in 2010, with the Donegal man submitting the Dubliner in just 38 seconds with an arm-triangle choke.
Duffy was signed by the UFC in 2015, with McGregor already having five UFC bouts under his belt and his eyes set on a featherweight title fight vs Jose Aldo.
Speaking on The Auld Triangle MMA Podcast, Duffy said he felt McGregor may have been intimidated by Duffy coming to the UFC as an Irishman that had already defeated him.
He said: “Conor tried to kind of turn the fans against me then because he probably didn’t like the attention that I, and obviously the tie between us, was getting at the time. So, he tried to turn the fans against me.”
Back in 2015, McGregor questioned Duffy’s fight ability and ‘Irish-ness’ when asked about his former foe shortly after he signed for the UFC, saying: “I’d love to see Duffy climb that rank. Do I think he has it in him? I don’t. I think he is a journeyman.”
“He quit the sport, he moved country, he changed teams. He was Welsh Joe, then he’s London Joe, then he’s Canadian Joe. Now he sees my success and all of a sudden, he’s Irish Joe.”
McGregor concluded: “I’d love to see him climb up and I would KO him stiff just for the way this has all panned out. I see him as a journeyman. I don’t see him making that climb, but we’ll see.”
Duffy admitted he grew disgruntled with McGregor’s attempts to discredit his talent and nationality.
He said: “That was something frustrating too because obviously, that’s something I’ve obviously been proud of. Even though I grew up in Wales I was obviously a proud Irishman.”
Duffy concluded: “That was annoying because that’s one of the reasons you’re fighting because you’re proud of your country and you want to represent it.”
Duffy went 4-1 in his opening five UFC fights, losing only to another McGregor foe Dustin Poirier.
However, three consecutive losses saw him leave the UFC with a 4-4 record and retire from the sport in 2020.