Joaquin Buckley confident former training partner Albert Duraev won’t trade: ‘If I blink too hard, he’s going to shoot’

·2 min read

AUSTIN, Texas – Joaquin Buckley and Albert Duraev have a little history.

While they’ll be opponents Saturday at UFC on ESPN 37, Buckley (14-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Duraev (15-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) were once on the same side. Shortly after Duraev revealed at a pre-fight news conference the two trained together in the past, Buckley confirmed their sessions and shed light on how they went.

“They was cool,” Buckley told reporters including MMA Junkie. “He was good at what he was good at. A lot of those positions that he was put in, it was all from training. He didn’t have to work for those positions, like that side-mount and mount, all that. He did good at what he was good at, which is holding people down.

“For this fight, I tell people. Training is different from fighting. When I’m putting 50 percent on, I’m putting 110 on in a fight. He’s going to see the difference.  … He always wanted to take a picture. I think he’s a big fan of mine. In this fight, I’m sure we’re going to have a good time.”

Duraev is known as a grappler, but told reporters Wednesday he will try to stand and trade with Buckley early before he takes it to the ground. That statement cracked Buckley up.

“If I blink too hard, he’s going to shoot, if you understand what I’m saying,” Buckley said. “It doesn’t matter with Albert Duraev. Like I said, there’s only one thing he’s going to try to do. When that’s not successful, I’m just going to be out there having a good time, throwing my hands and kicking my feet.”

UFC on ESPN 37 takes place Saturday at Moody Arena. The main card airs on ESPN after prelims on ESPN+. Check out Buckley’s full pre-fight news conference in the video above.