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Christian Duncan of England poses on the scale during the UFC 286 official weigh-in at Hilton London Canary Wharf on March 17, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Christian Leroy Duncan: Elevating His Game With Each Fight

Promising UFC Middleweight Prospect Christian Leroy Duncan Intends To Gain Experience And Bring Fireworks On His Way To The Top.

Just minutes into his highly anticipated UFC debut, Christian Leroy Duncan saw his opponent Dusko Todorovic unexpectedly fall to the canvas. Todorovic immediately clutched his knee and it became apparent that a serious injury had put a disappointing end to their UFC 286 bout.

Sure, on paper it went down as a win, but how it happened made Duncan feel as if someone had pulled the rug right from under him.

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He wanted to win in a dominant fashion that showcased he was not only ready to compete at the UFC level, but he had the talent to make some serious noise at middleweight.

“It was different because I’ve never been in there when that has happened; it was just kind of shut down,” Duncan told UFC.com when recalling Todorovic’s injury. “It was a weird feeling because usually when you win there is an adrenaline rush, but there was nothing there at all. It was a weird feeling. This time I want to do it properly.”

Christian Leroy Duncan of England reacts after his TKO victory over Dusko Todorovic of Montenegro due to injury in a middleweight fight during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Christian Leroy Duncan of England reacts after his TKO victory over Dusko Todorovic of Montenegro due to injury in a middleweight fight during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

With winning top of mind, Duncan turned his attention on getting straight back into the Octagon. He told his manager to find him a bout and when the opportunity came up to face Armen Petrosyan at UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Cannonier, he couldn’t have signed the dotted line faster.

Although it will be Duncan’s first experience fighting in the UFC APEX, the former Cage Warriors star feels like he’s more prepared than most for the intimate environment that comes with a smaller, quieter experience.

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Duncan officially turned pro in 2020, just a few months into the COVID 19 shutdown, and he cut his teeth fighting on closed door Cage Warriors shows. “CLD” is confident that those events will benefit him heading into this weekend’s clash with Petrosyan.

Christian Leroy Duncan of England poses on the scale during the UFC 286 ceremonial weigh-in at The O2 Arena on March 17, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Christian Leroy Duncan of England poses on the scale during the UFC 286 ceremonial weigh-in at The O2 Arena on March 17, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

It’s almost like Duncan is getting a second chance to make a first impression, and the 27-year-old couldn’t be happier to get that chance against an opponent as good as Petrosyan.

“He’s a very solid fighter, a solid opponent,” Duncan said. “He’s very good at what he does, and you can tell that he’s been doing that for a long time. His record has proven it and his past fights, too. At the same time, it makes for an exciting fight because of our styles, and Saturday is going to be a very explosive night.”

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If you’ve ever seen a Christian Leroy Duncan fight you know exactly the type of fight that the England native is referring to - A mix of technical meets wild that turns into a highlight reel.

Duncan looked unstoppable on his 7-0 Cage Warriors run, adding viral knockouts to his resume, and building his hype before he ever stepped on a UFC canvas. He believes his athletic ability, combined with his unpredictability, will be keys to beating Petrosyan this weekend.

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“My advantages come more from my adjustments and my creativity,” Duncan said. “Depending on how the fight goes, I’ll adjust and I’ll change. I’ll never be the same fighter from the first to the second to the third. Depending on what happens, I always switch it up.”

Christian Leroy Duncan of England has his hands wrapped prior to his fight during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
Christian Leroy Duncan of England has his hands wrapped prior to his fight during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

And even though Duncan feels right at home in the standup game, he expects his wrestling and grappling abilities to be tested sooner rather than later.

“Especially being at this level, that’s definitely going to come - it’s inevitable. The stuff I’ve been working on, you have to have all aspects,” Duncan said. “In this day and age of MMA, the way the sport is growing so fast, the way that people’s levels are elevating in all areas of the sport, you have to keep up or you get left behind. We are definitely pushing to keep up or even be ahead.”

A spectacular win over Petrosyan could put Duncan on the fast-track to being one of the hottest prospects at 185 pounds. A quick rise to the top wouldn’t be anything new for Duncan, but he isn’t in a rush to climb the rankings. His mission is simple – rack up wins and gain life experience along the way.

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“Continue moving forward in the direction we want to head,” Duncan said. “Again, time will tell on the speed of that; I’m not in a rush. I want to get my experience here before I head into the top ranks, but if it comes early, I’ll be ready for that. My whole career I’ve always been kind of pushed ahead. It was never a slow rise; I was always pushed to the next level, which forced me to elevate quicker. So I welcome it. I know in the long run I’m only going to become a better fighter.”

“Fight-wise, I’m definitely looking to get to the top rankings. [But] winning opens doors to improve the life of my family, friends, and to use the experience to get to travel the world. I’m on that mission right now.”

UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Cannonier took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on June 17, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass