'A few times I looked across the gym and thought: Jesus, that’s Georges St Pierre!'

Joseph Duffy has been rubbing shoulders with the former UFC champion in Montreal.

JOSEPH DUFFY ADMITS that he still sometimes has to pinch himself when training at the famed Tristar Gym in Montreal.

The Donegal native relocated to Canada earlier this year to join one of the leading teams in mixed martial arts.

Tristar is home to some of MMA’s biggest names, including former UFC welterweight champion Georges St Pierre, 170lbs title contender Rory MacDonald and renowned coach Firas Zahabi.

PA-18226685 Georges St Pierre AP Photo / Isaac Brekken AP Photo / Isaac Brekken / Isaac Brekken

After two stints as a UFC champion and nine successful title defences in a row, St Pierre retired from MMA two years ago. However, speculation suggests that the legendary 34-year-old is planning to return to the octagon in 2016.

Duffy, who is 2-0 in the UFC since making his debut for the organisation back in March, told The42 that training alongside one of his idols has been a dream come true.

“Georges has been good to me here at Tristar,” Duffy said. “He has helped me a lot with the finer details of the game. He’s been a massive help.

“He’s got a great philosophy, Georges. He wants everyone in the gym to get better. He obviously recognises that if everyone else is getting better, he’ll get better too. We can all improve. He’s great to have in the gym.”

Duffy revealed that even though he’s now a permanent fixture at Tristar, becoming one of the gym’s top fighters in his own right, he’s still often taken aback by being in such esteemed company.

“Without a doubt. I was kind of like that around the whole gym; Firas [Zahabi], Georges, Rory [MacDonald] and there’s so many other top UFC guys here too. It was surreal and it still is sometimes. You’ve been watching all these guys on TV, following their careers and all of a sudden you become one of their training partners.

“At first, a few times I looked across the gym and thought: Jesus, that’s Georges St Pierre! Do you know what I mean? Anyone who comes into the gym has that realisation as well; you know, hang on a second, I’m on the mat here with GSP and Rory MacDonald. Yeah, it’s been great.”

inpho_00916540 Joseph Duffy INPHO / Cathal Noonan INPHO / Cathal Noonan / Cathal Noonan

Duffy will face Dustin Poirier at UFC 195 in Las Vegas on 2 January, a bout which was rescheduled after the Irish fighter was forced to withdraw just days before they were due to meet at UFC Dublin last month due to a concussion.

However, Duffy has confirmed that he’s since been given the all-clear on the medical front and that his preparations are on track for the MGM Grand in the new year.

“There were no follow-up issues whatsoever,” he said. “It was just that the fight was due to happen so early after the concussion so it was out of my hands. I didn’t feel anything at all on fight week. I felt completely normal. It was all just precautionary. But it’s done and dusted now.”

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