He came to prominence in a major British promotion. He captured championships in two weight classes. He’s not Conor McGregor. He’s Tom Duquesnoy.
Duquesnoy has quietly — or not so quietly, if you’ve been paying close attention — built himself up for a shot in the UFC. He has become one of the top prospects in the world since a loss to fellow future UFC fighter Makwan Amirkhani in his fifth professional fight. The 23-year-old made his name through BAMMA, where he not only won seven fights, including six by finish, but became the promotion’s bantamweight and featherweight champion. He’s even gone so far as to defend both titles — something even McGregor never did.
Now, he has a whole different beast in front of him when he steps up to face UFC competition.
Duquesnoy’s Octagon debut comes against Patrick Williams, who has gone 1-1 under the UFC banner. Williams may not stand out as one of the best bantamweights on the roster, but this is a chance for the debuting Duquesnoy to really make his mark. His first impression has to come in victory. A loss is a big setback for someone with his amount of potential.
Duquesnoy and Williams collide on April 15 at UFC on Fox 24 in Kansas City, Mo. This is a free televised card, but Duquesnoy’s placement on the preliminary card is not quite known yet. If he appears on the Fox Sports 1 prelims, then fans will have a chance to watch him debut on television Saturday night. If it’s a UFC Fight Pass fight, then he’ll have a more limited exposure. Either way, UFC fans will get their first look at the French fighter.
Duquesnoy’s star potential doesn’t lie in a charismatic ability to sell fights and back them up, but rather in his skills. Duquesnoy is a flashy fighter that could intrigue the average fan. His striking is extremely diverse. It isn’t just straightforward punches, but elbows and kicks to help round out his arsenal. His knockouts can come from anywhere. Shay Walsh learned that the hard way at BAMMA 25. Shay Walsh isn’t a bad fighter, either. This tells you how good Duquesnoy is at positioning and landing these blows.
Much like McGregor, Duquesnoy is extremely versatile and well rounded in his game. If his opponent wants to play the ground game, Duquesnoy will make it entertaining with his offensive grappling. He can submit his opponents, too.
Duquesnoy comes from one of the top promotions in Europe, but his name is not known to the casual fan. He has the potential to seemingly come out of nowhere and take over in a division starving for young contenders. With Michael McDonald’s departure from the UFC and the retirements of Urijah Faber and Brad Pickett, the promotion needs a young gun to step up. If his prior fights are any indication, Duquesnoy can be that someone.