By Raphael Garcia
UFC on Fox 24 was a coming out party for many developing stars. The promotion will benefit from the big wins earned by Robert Whittaker, Demetrious Johnson, and Rose Namajunas. But there was another name on the card that was successful when the lights shined the brightest. Tom “Fire Kid” Duquesnoy stepped into the Octagon for the first time and didn’t disappoint with his performance.
Duquesnoy may have needed an introduction of sorts to casual UFC fans, but after his performance on Saturday night, that’s no longer the case. Patrick Williams survived into the second round of their fight, but 28 seconds after the frame started, he ate a pair of violent elbows that closed out the show. Williams may not be a big name in the division, but his abilities were enough to test the 23-year-old French competitor. It was a test that Duquesnoy passed in an exceptional fashion.
Even before the UFC was purchased by WME-IMG, the organization has long looked for a specific type of fighter to promote to the masses. And as Duquesnoy resembles the fighters like Sage Northcutt and Paige VanZant from an aesthetic perspective, those comparisons are sure to come. Add in the fact that he’s a published model along as well as a successful mixed martial artist, and he fits right into the mold of fighter that leadership within the UFC enjoys. But he has a level of ability that neither of those fighters brought into the Octagon. Duquesnoy came into this bout as a two-division champion in BAMMA, where he was the holder of both the featherweight and bantamweight straps. It’s that level of experience over 17 professional fights that makes this athlete that much more of a compelling addition to the UFC roster than Paige and Sage.
On top of that experience, Duquesnoy has the tools that both hardcore and mainstream fans will enjoy. 12 of his 15 wins come via some form of stoppage and those stoppages are usually violent. Duquesnoy has a mix of technique and violence that overwhelms opponents while exciting the fans. He brought pressure against Williams, and Williams was game at first, but he would eventually fold the same way others have in the past.
In some ways, Tom Duquesnoy could be the perfect foil for the men sitting atop the bantamweight division. But he has to be groomed into that position rather than being thrown in headfirst. However, with his win at UFC on Fox 24, Duquesnoy made quite the impactful first impression, introducing himself to fans that are ready and willing to welcome him with open arms.