After years of dominating in Europe, Tom Duquesnoy made his UFC debut last April to much fan-fare. The performance was typical of the Frenchman: it was a firefight, living up to his nickname. The uninitiated were treated to the raw “Fire Kid”, warts and all. And while the early second round finish of Patrick Williams was given a glowing review by most, it didn’t come without its share of criticism.
Duquensoy, an offensive virtuoso, didn’t have it all his way. Early on, he found himself on the floor, bloodied up by Williams. While a brief moment in the fight’s entirety, it stood out, and it brought Duquesnoy’s defensive aptitude into question.
Speaking on the Obviously Fight Talk show ahead of tonight’s UFC 216 showdown with Cody Stamann, Duquesnoy said that he’s aware of the criticisms and revealed that he’s been specifically working on this aspect of his game in the lead-up.
“Yeah, this has improved,” he said. “Technically we’ve been working a lot on this special topic. I will promise you I will not be taking that much shots for the next fight [sic].”
With 12 finishes in 15 victories, it’s clear to see that his brand of ultra-aggressive pressure fighting has played a key role in making him the fighter that he is today. And while Duquesnoy admits that his striking defense needed honing, he’s conscious of what brought him to the dance and it seems unlikely he’ll be leaving it by the wayside.
“You know, you can say ‘yeah, you have an aggressive style, but you take a lot of shots’. [But] it’s thanks to this aggressive style that I could knockout and finish most of my fights.
“When you’re with someone, when you’re with a woman, you don’t say ‘yeah, I like that thing of your personality, but I don’t like that thing, you know. You can’t be shopping like that’. You’re more like ‘okay, I take you as you are’. But definitely and technically it’s something that I need to improve, and I have improved it a lot.”
Whatever way you spin it, taking less damage is always a good thing. However, for Duquesnoy’s other endeavor, it’s critical. He models outside of fighting, so when your second job is to look handsome, but your first job’s consequences directly affect that, it’s easy to see why you’d want to limit those chances.