Taking a victory over an American with a strong wrestling background is a right of passage for every European fighter that signs with the UFC.
Up until he fought Chad Mendes at UFC 189, the same questions were asked of Conor McGregor. Even after his second-round knockout win over Mendes a lot of people see the grappling prowess of Khabib Nurmagomedov as the toughest possible challenge that is available to the Irishman.
Ahead of his bout with Tom Duquesnoy, Cody Stamann outlined his belief that the Frenchman would not be garnering so much hype had he come up in the U.S.
Stamann claimed that “Firekid” was “leagues ahead” of the opposition he faced on route to claiming two BAMMA titles, but Duquesnoy defended his previous opponents that he faced on his ascent to the UFC.
“The guys who I fought in Ireland were real warriors,” Duquesnoy told MMA Fighting. “Same as in England, I fought some great fighters over there and they were very high level.
“I’ve been fighting guys that specialize in their ground work and other guys who have excellent wrestling. Obviously, there are some fantastic strikers in Europe, too.
“All the things I have been doing, I have been moving up stream in preparation for the UFC, maybe that’s what they call hype.
“I’ve had 17 fights before I came to the UFC and that was to make me the most complete athlete I could possibly be. So, thank you to all of the fighters from Europe who have led to the main event on the Fox prelim card.”
Duquesnoy believes that European fighters have been going from strength to strength since the emergence of McGregor, and highlighted UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk as another fighter who is proving how high level the continent’s charges are.
“I don’t really know what (Cody) was saying. We have some very high level fighters in Europe, especially since the McGregor era. We have a lot of champions too – look at Joanna Jedrzejczyk,” Duquesnoy said.
“I have built my foundations in Europe and now I’m trying to learn more in the US. I want to benefit from both worlds. I have worked with many high level coaches in Europe and now I’m working with high-level coaches in the US, some of which specialize in wrestling.
“They are very complimentary to one another.”
Stamann believes his dynamic skillset will give Duquesnoy his toughest challenge to date. He cited the lack of standout wrestlers Duquesnoy has faced as one of the main reasons why he is courting so much fan fare.
Although he is quite aware of Stamann’s strengths, Duquesnoy believes that fighting is about much more than having just one sharper tool than your counterpart.
“It’s always been a duality with American wrestlers and European kickboxers. The person who is best prepared in all areas is going to be the one who wins the fight,” he said.
“It’s also who has the best cardio, who has put more into their preparation and who has a better weight cut. As well as that, it’s about who is able to adapt more during the fight.
“At the end of the day we are all in the UFC. We are all at the top level. We all have our own style.”