Former "Ultimate Fighter" contestant, Joe "Hybrid" Duarte is coming off of the best training camp of his career and looking to make a splash this weekend in one of the biggest Strikeforce events of the year.
BleacherReport was able to catch up with Duarte as he talks about his career, his record, Strikeforce and more.
- Joe "Hybrid" Duarte
- Born: Dededo, Guam
- Age: 27
- Height: 5'9''
- Division: Lightweight (155lbs.)
- In shape weight, beginning of camp: 175-180lbs
How has your preparation been coming into your fight this weekend?
"You know, this is the most consistent camp I've ever had in my entire life. Usually there is always something. I've never had a camp completely just for me. It took me 12 professional mma fights to really get my own camp going and having coaches and having things set up for me.
KJ Noons, Jeff Clark and Vince Salvador were a big help for me for this. They set everything up for me. They took care of everything: they took care of all my sparring, got me the guys I needed and, you know, pushed me mentally and physically. So, I'm ready to go.
Ive trained like I'm getting ready to fight for a world title for this fight.
I feel like this camp couldn't have gone any better."
On his opponent, Saad Awad:
"We actually know each other, we're pretty cool. I know his training partners, I know his team, I know his guys.
He's with a wrestler background- tough, scrappy. He comes to fight. Which I like. He doesn't run away, and just try to f@#kin take me down the whole time, he comes to fight. I enjoy the fight and I'm looking forward to this.
Stylistically, it's a good choice, because it's going to make for an exciting fight, but you know, we both felt like it sucks that we have to fight each other, but while we're here, let's do this.
There's other fights out there that I would have wanted that I was trying to get for a while, but I've been given this opportunity and it's business."
On his professional record:
"Actually I fought four times (in 2010), they don't have three of my fights on Sherdog. I fought in July [winning by] ref stoppage and August with a ref stoppage. Then I fought in November and won by TKO. I'm on a three fight win streak with a record of 8-2 right now and I'm excited for this opportunity."
On fighting Greg Jackson trained Carey Vanier on late notice:
"I literally wasn't actually even training when I got the call for that fight. I found out four days prior to the weigh-ins, and I was weighing at 177 pounds. I'm a big lightweight and so I took the fight because it was an opportunity given and I ended up basically killing myself trying to make the weight.
I learned a lot. I cut 22 pounds in four days. I learned a lot about myself, about my mental threshold . What I can and cannot do. And I went three rounds with him. I went three rounds with a guy who had been in training camp for a long time and I didn't even know he was a southpaw until I got in the cage. I didn't know anything about Carey Vanier. I was basically fighting blind. I'm glad I took the fight. I learned a lot from it.
I don't know why the ref stopped it. Because my eye was swelling up, it was not bruised, it was not broken, it was fine the next day. It was open. I was kind of upset at the stoppage. I was actually on my way up."
On ZUFFA LLC purchasing Strikeforce:
"I was excited. I had got the original contract for the fight under the Strikeforce name. When they told me about the purchase I felt good about that because that's where I wanted to be anyways. I like Dana, I like all those guys. They know me from 'The Ultimate Fighter.' When I got the chance to fight for Zuffa, I jumped at the [opportunity]."
Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley, April 9th in San Diego, CA on Showtime.