Following two knockouts in a row, Todd Duffee wants nothing more right now than a chance to crack the UFC rankings, but it appears no one in the top 15 is willing to give him a shot.
Duffee was convinced until just recently that he was going to land one of those elusive opponents until the UFC opted to put together a different matchup all together. So Duffee was forced to scour the remainder of the top 15 for any viable opponent and that’s when he came across a former heavyweight champion who isn’t booked for a fight right now and happens to be coming off a win.
"It comes down to this — I thought I was getting Matt Mitrione and I was sitting there quietly waiting, he was ranked in the top 15 so I was happy with that. I’m not ranked yet, I haven’t been active enough so I was fine with that, it’s a great fight. I wanted Matt or Ben Rothwell because I thought those were both reasonable fights for me to get. It made sense," Duffee told FOX Sports.
"Next thing I do I look and everybody’s matched up in the top 15 except Frank Mir. Stefan Struve isn’t matched up either, but honestly he’s coming off a loss and I’m not. Frank is the only guy, he’s right outside the top 10 at no. 11 so it made sense for me."
Duffee immediately took to Twitter to ask Mir to accept a fight against him, but the former champion failed to respond, which only angered the American Top Team heavyweight even more.
He had nothing against Mir when asking for the fight, Duffee just wanted the chance to score a matchup against somebody in the top 15 that would allow him the chance to break into the rankings. Instead, Duffee found Mir’s best defense was ignoring him and that only made him want the fight that much more.
It’s clear as day. I’m very dangerous. Everybody knows it, it’s no secret. It’s a dangerous fight for Frank Mir. I’m young, athletic, I finish people and he knows that
— Todd Duffee
In the past, Duffee has avoided public call outs and getting into social media spats with other fighters because it just didn’t befit his personality. Recent matchmaking has made Duffee reconsider his tactics all together.
"How do I get those opportunities? Guys like Brendan Schaub are getting fights where they haven’t necessarily earned it either. Brendan Schaub isn’t even ranked and he just fought the No. 4 guy in the world recently just by talking s–t. So for me it’s just a matter of trying to afford myself the opportunities to make my career," Duffee said.
"I have no problem with Frank Mir. I could have one really quickly and it may have to get personal."
Duffee had a feeling Mir was avoiding a response because he was gunning for a potential rematch with Brock Lesnar or a third fight against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Mir called out Lesnar after his last win over Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva while rumors of a third fight with Nogueira have been swirling after the Brazilian asked for another chance to avenge two previous losses to the Las Vegas native.
"He made it very clear he is ready to fight this summer but instead he tried to cherry pick fights," Duffee said. "Calling out a guy who is not even on the roster (Brock Lesnar) and a guy he’s already beaten and not just beaten but finished twice (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira). To me, that’s where I’m at now it just doesn’t make sense.
"He’s doing it for a payday. If they’re going to have the rankings then you can’t have guys like that ranked. If you’re going to be No. 11, be No. 11 or get out of there.
Mir finally responded to the call out on Wednesday when appearing on FOX Sports Radio 670 in Las Vegas and confirmed what Duffee suspected all along — he was waiting for a potential third fight against Lesnar if he actually returned to the UFC.
"I’ll answer very specifically for Todd. I didn’t answer your call out because up until last night, I thought I was fighting Brock Lesnar," Mir said. "And I hate to break the news, that’s a much bigger fight for me than fighting Todd Duffee."
Mir won’t be fighting Lesnar, however, after the former heavyweight champion opted to sign a new multiyear contract with the WWE to remain in professional wrestling, effectively closing the door on any possible return to the UFC.
Duffee understands why Mir might not want the fight, but it’s not going to stop him from asking for it until the UFC tells him otherwise.
"It’s clear as day. I’m very dangerous. Everybody knows it, it’s no secret. It’s a dangerous fight for Frank Mir. I’m young, athletic, I finish people and he knows that. We’ve trained together, he knows that," Duffee said.
"I’m just frustrated because for a guy like me, who has knocked out his last three opponents quickly and it’s time to get somebody that’s going to challenge me. It makes sense with how the organization is moving forward with the rankings. He got to fight somebody who was ranked above him in ‘Bigfoot’ Silva after all those losses and now it’s his turn to pay the piper and I’m here to collect.