A confident Tom Duquesnoy said his name alone is enough to guarantee an exciting contest at UFC 216.
Tom Duquesnoy made his long awaited UFC debut in April at UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Reis. In doing so the 24-year-old bantamweight improved his pro record to 15-1. Next weekend he heads to Vegas hoping for another win. Standing in his way is fellow UFC sophomore Cody Stamann (14-1).
When Duquesnoy finally got his chance to fight in the UFC, it was against Patrick Williams (8-5); who was a decorated wrestler at Arizona State University. The exciting contest saw both men bloodied before Duquesnoy seized the advantage towards the end of the opening round. A hurt Williams came out for the second, but was quickly stopped by the Frenchman with a series of elbows and punches.
Though the former BAMMA 135/145lb champion scored an impressive stoppage win, Duquesnoy admitted being surprised by the challenge put forward by Williams (who scored two takedowns in the fight).
“He was actually very explosive and very strong in the fight,” said Duquesnoy to Bloody Elbow. “I wasn’t expecting such explosiveness, so he kind of surprised me in that way, but I was expecting the kind of movement he used; especially the level changes, so I was ready for that. I feel Patrick Williams was a big test for me, a physical test, because obviously he was very strong and very explosive, but also a wrestling test because he is a high level wrestler from the university circuit. So for me it was the moment to see where my wrestling defense was at.”
Entering the UFC cage for the very first time also presented a mental test for Duquesnoy. However, the long hyped prospect said the fabled ‘Octagon jitters’ did not make an appearance for his promotional debut.
“The UFC is part of a dream for me, it represents the continuity of my professional goals, but even so, when I walked into the Octagon, I was very relaxed, very happy, and ready,” revealed Duquesnoy. “The kind of sensation I felt was a feeling like, ‘Ok, let’s do this, I’m ready.’ I was expecting to feel a little nervous, to have a little apprehension, and a little thought going on like, ‘What am I doing here?’, but actually I was like, ‘I’m good.’ And it was just like another day in the office.”
Duquesnoy did concede that there were some nerves and ‘tension’ throughout camp, leading up to his debut. He claimed much of this was down to the increased amount of media obligations he faced. He stated there has been no such tension this time around, now that he is familiar with what to expect during the build up to a UFC event.
For his second UFC fight Duquesnoy has drawn Cody Stamann. The Michigan-based fighter made his UFC debut at UFC 213 in July, with a lopsided decision victory over fellow newcomer Terrion Ware.
“It’s a good match up,” said Duquesnoy of his meeting with Stamann. “There are a lot of American fighters like him. He’s very strong – physically. He’s an explosive wrestle-boxer and I’m used to that kind of opponent. But, when you see his record you must respect him for the wins that he has and I can’t wait to measure my strengths against his.”
Duquesnoy, along with his team at Jackson Wink MMA, watched Stamann’s fight with Ware carefully. Afterwards, he said, the team compared notes on Stamann and discovered they were all on the same page. “After watching the footage, we kind of spoke about what we should do – technically and physically – and then we organized the whole camp,” he said. “Then in the camp we could adjust what we need to do more, what we need to do less. Then we created, not the perfect game plan, but more a list of things we should do and things we should not do.”
Asked whether he would look to capitalize on his perceived striking advantage over Stamann, Duquesnoy was coy. “I think we’re going to have to wait and see on the 7th of October, that’s all I can tell.” But Duquesnoy did say he does not expect Stamann to shy away from trading on the feet. “That’s the beauty of MMA, sometimes you will wait for someone to go to the ground and they will surprise you with their stand-up game. What I think is that Cody is a high level wrestler and he is also a striker, so he is going to be able to do both and we will adapt during the fight. So I’m going to see what he offers me and go from there.”
No matter what Stamann does and does not do, Duquesnoy is confident that the contest will be an exciting tilt for fans. “I always promise people a good show and I never disappoint,” he said. “I’m trying to have a constant progression and always entertain the people who follow me. I’m always trying to go forward, to make action, to adapt, and to use my elbows and my knees. I train hard, so that I can do in the Octagon exactly what I say I will do. So I don’t have to ‘sell the fight’, the only proof you need that this is going to be a good show is that I am in the fight.”
You can see if Duquesnoy delivers on his promise to put on a good show on Saturday, October 7th at UFC 216: Ferguson vs. Lee . His fight versus Cody Stamann headlines the prelim portion of the event, which begins at 8pm ET on FX.