Todd Duffee Quietly Puts Together One of UFC’s Oddest Back Stories

by Jim Singletary

Bleacher Report recently profiled Gifted Nutrition Athlete Todd Duffee.   Full Story HERE

Look for Todd making his comeback to the UFC cage this weekend on the main card of  UFC 181

Professional athletes fall off of the radar quite often. Numerous factors, such as injuries and personal situations, push competitors out of their sport before they had the opportunity to make a true impact. Todd Duffee was once considered such an individual, yet he has slowly made his way back into the world of professional fighting. Looking at his story opens up an interesting chapter in the development of mixed martial artists that is very unique in its own right.

Travel in a time machine five years back to 2009. Duffee would have just faced Tim Hague back at UFC 102. In this fight he would snatch the recognized UFC record of fastest knockout with a seven-second stoppage. There would be an explosion of excitement surrounding the potential that Duffee would have within MMA, but that storyline would not come to fruition.

Duffee would then begin to experience the injuries that have continued to plague his career. He would be pulled from a planned fight on UFC 107 but would make his return to the Octagon against Mike Russow at UFC 114. That is where the wheels began to fall off.

Todd has been working closely with his new supplement sponsor, Gifted Nutrition (, to get back in top notch physical form and prepare for UFC 181.

David Becker/Associated Press
Todd Duffee's has fought through a twisting road to reach this level of MMA

Duffee would dominate Russow for 10 minutes of this contest before being knocked out in the third round. This is well-known information. However, the peculiar moment came before the fight when Duffee would make some interesting comments that should have raised concerns about his mental state in relation to the sport.A 2010 piece by Ray Hui of MMA Fighting revealed an honest side to Duffee before the Russow fight in which he called himself “overhyped.” He would go on to reveal other internal feelings that he had about the sport that are refreshing to hear from a fighter now and were even more so back then.”I’ve been overhyped but I’m not overrated by any means,” Duffee said on the MMA Hour, MMA Fighting’s weekly studio show (as reported by Hui). “The guys I train with. The people I’m around … If I’m overrated, they are too.”That statement, coupled with the result of the fight, put Duffee in a very hard place to recover from. Months after that defeat he would find himself on the outside of the UFC as he was cut from the promotion. He was just as shocked as much of the MMA community.”I thought it was a joke at first,” Duffee said in a MMA Fighting report by Ben Fowlkes. “I mean, they’re not cutting me off one loss. They don’t do that. It didn’t make sense to me.”Duffee would fight one more time in 2010, a first-round defeat to Alistair Overeem, before disappearing from the sport all together. Two years and a movie later, Duffee crept his way back into the MMA scene. One victory in Super Fight League would allow him to be welcomed back into the UFC at UFC 155, where he stopped Phillip De Fries.This point in his career deserves a huge reference point as he was competing without the full abilities available to other fighters. He was diagnosed with a rare condition that threatened his entire career, via MMA Mania. Being an athlete is hard enough, but doing so while battling Parsonage-Turner Syndrome (PTS) is amazing in its own right. However, this hurdle has not stopped Duffee as he is expected to face Anthony Hamilton at UFC 181 in December.Todd Duffee’s story is interesting for a number of reasons. From hot prospect to potential bust, Duffee is still a name to watch in the heavyweight division. At just 28 years old he still has a lot to offer the sport at its highest levels. However, he seems more comfortable riding under the radar rather than being the face that everyone expects to smash opponents.”I always want to be an underdog going into a fight, no question,” said Duffee before his fight with Russow. It’s just more exciting. Your training camps are so long and there is so much room for injury in your career, so sure you want to try to fight the best opponents you can fight always.”

He may finally have his request as he looks to rebuild his name among the biggest men in mixed martial arts. The heavyweight division needs a fighter who can establish himself as the man to watch. Duffee has shown the flashes in the past, but this more quiet approach—along with his backstory—make him a name to watch in the near future.