Todd Duffee ‘excited’ to be back in UFC, looks to ‘earn’ his spot with a win against Philip de Fries at UFC 155

Jon Kopaloff

After getting a call back up to the big leagues, Todd Duffee says he wants to 'earn' his spot on the UFC's roster by beating Philip De Fries at UFC 155 on Dec., 29, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Once considered one of the most promising and exciting heavyweight prospects in mixed martial arts (MMA), Todd Duffee's first run with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was a rather swift one, with mixed results.

After knocking out Tim Hague in a record-tying seven seconds in his UFC 102 debut, Duffee laid an egg in his next outing, getting knocked out cold by Mike Russow in the third round at UFC 114 after dominating the first two. After the loss, the chiseled heavyweight was cut from the promotion due to, as UFC president Dana White called it, an attitude problem.

Since his departure from the Octagon, Duffe has gone an even 1-1, losing to Alistair Overeem at Dream: "Dynamite 2010" and then defeating Neil Grove at Super Fight League 2 (SFL). Now back under the bright lights of the UFC once again, Todd says he is ‘excited' to face the best fighters in the world.

Appearing on "The MMA Hour," Duffee revealed he was a few days away from signing with another promotion (which he refused to name) when he received the call from the UFC to head back to the Octagon and says his first run with the promotion wasn't as smooth as he had liked, due to the "overwhelming" bombardment of fame and attention:

"I wake up. I get a phone call from my manager Bob Cook, and he says, 'We got you a fight in the UFC.' And at this point, we had been talking about this for a while and we did not think it was possible. Obviously that's where he wanted to get me, but, I'd been cut, and made some mistakes in the past that had upset them (UFC) and I would assume rightfully so. So, we didn't think that was an option. The moment I got the phone call, I dropped everything else and said, 'Yes, let's do it.' No hesitation, no nothing. Here we are now, I'm super excited. There's not many times in life when you set a goal and go out and get it done. It's huge. Let's be honest, I've only fought twice since I left, so to say that I've earned my way back is kind of, don't know if it's entirely the truth, but, here I am and I have an opportunity to earn my way back with a win on December 29th."

When asked if he's changed and grown as a person since his last fight in the Octagon against Russow, Todd had this to say:

"Here's the thing. I always hear that people assumed I got arrogant and cocky. Truth be told, I would have won that fight if I was arrogant and cocky I think. I kind of humbled myself until I was hollow inside, and that really will affect your performance. It affects the belief within yourself and stuff like that. So yeah, I am a different person in some aspects. I have a stronger belief in my capabilities. The big thing is, I've learned to come across, to actually represent myself and show my true self to people. When I first got in (the UFC), I got hit big with all the fame and I did not like it, it wasn't for me at the time. Not to say I didn't want to be one of the greats, I was just not prepared to deal with the fans and things like that. At the end of the day I do want fans and be successful, but the attention aspect of the sport is not what attracted me to it. It was very overwhelming to me and I don't think I knew how to respond or knew how to come across correctly and I think I was misinterpreted a lot due to my look and my stoic nature. At times and I'm very blunt and to the point and too honest sometimes."

Duffee will meet Philip De Fries at UFC 155 at the promotions year-end show as a late-replacement for Matt Mitrione who backed out of the fight in favor of a "fun fight" against Roy Nelson.

Anyone see Duffee's second stint with Zuffa going smoother than his first? And can he make some noise in the UFC's land of the giants?

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