Todd Duffee is returning to MMA competition after retiring for nearly three and a half years.
In September 2019, Duffee retired after being unintentionally eye poked by Jeff Hughes, leading to a disappointing no-contest. At 37 years old, the Indiana native believes he still has more left in the tank. The former UFC heavyweight joined Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to reveal he’s signed with KSW.
Shortly after his interview with Helwani, KSW announced Duffee would be getting an immediate heavyweight title shot against reigning champion Phil De Fries. The promotion had this to say on Twitter:
“IT. IS. OFFICIAL!!! KSW Heavyweight Title Fight Phil De Fries vs. Todd Duffee #KSW79 | February 25 | Liberec”
Duffee is jumping right back into deep waters by taking on the reigning KSW heavyweight champion. De Fries made his promotional debut in April 2018 and immediately fought for the vacant title, winning by a first-round TKO against Michal Andryszak.
Since then, the 36-year-old has been terrorizing the division by successfully defending the title seven times, including five inside the distance. KSW needed a new challenge for their heavyweight king, so they recruited Duffee, who holds a win over De Fries from 2012.
🚨 IT. IS. OFFICIAL!!! 🚨
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗘𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁 🤩 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵
🏆 KSW Heavyweight Title Fight 🏆
👑 Phil De Fries vs. Todd Duffee 🇺🇸#KSW79 | February 25 | Liberec 🇨🇿 pic.twitter.com/F7iSRrxSX4
— KSW (@KSW_MMA) January 25, 2023
Todd Duffee beat Phil De Fries at UFC 155 in 2012
Although Todd Duffee has to overcome inactivity at KSW 79, he gets a boost of confidence from defeating Phil De Fries in the past. During his second tenure with the UFC, Duffee was matched up against De Fries on the UFC 155 preliminary card in December 2012.
Similar to his other five UFC fights, Duffee didn’t make it to the second round, defeating De Fries by a vicious first-round TKO. A lot has changed since they first fought. The reigning KSW champion has stayed active, while the American hasn’t fought in nearly three and a half years.
Duffee had his ups and downs as a fighter, but fans were always guaranteed an exciting fight. After starting his professional career 5-0, the Indiana native went 1-1 before parting ways with the UFC. He then lost to Alistair Overeem and beat Neil Grove before returning to the UFC in 2012. The 37-year-old went 2-1 with a no-contest before retiring from the Octagon.