PFL 5’s Michael Dufort: “Canadian Badass” Doesn’t Like Judges, So Bet on a Finish

Canadian lightweight Michael Dufort picked up his nickname from a certain pro-wrestling star, after starting his career 0-2 as “The Machine.”

CM Punk called me the ‘Canadian Badass,’ and I liked it honestly. So I’m the ‘Canadian Badass’ right now,” Dufort (13-4) told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview ahead of his return to action at PFL 5 this Friday. Punk, who serves as an analyst for Cage Fury FC, where Dufort previously fought, may have unintentionally struck gold with the name. It pairs well with a very high-profile training partner of Dufort, two-time PFL champ Olivier Aubin-Mercier, rather amusingly known as “The Canadian Gangster.”

Switching nicknames is far from unheard of in MMA, though perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into that 0-2 start to Michael Dufort’s career. To put the Quebec native’s early-career stumbles in perspective, one of those two losses was to current UFC star Kyle Nelson. It’s been a different story since, with Dufort appearing on the PFL Challenger Series in 2022, then being brought in for the 2024 season.

A lot of that has to do with who Dufort was beating, he believes. That includes wins over UFC vet Luis Pena, a.k.a. “Violent Bob Ross,” and Joe Giannetti, a TUF 27 alum.

“Luis Pena was a pretty huge name in the UFC, I beat him in less than a minute thirty. Then I fought Joe Giannetti, who has never been finished, I finished him in a minute thirty. So I think people looked at this and they were like ‘okay, he’s good, he might be something.'”

Dufort got the attention of the PFL once again from there. “I guess PFL liked us, the energy, they liked what I did on my side too, and now we’ve matched together. I think I have the perfect style to compete the PFL.”

The 30-year old Canadian now leads the PFL’s lightweight division, thanks to an upset win over Bellator vet Mads Burnell that was another quick one: a guillotine choke submission that came just over a minute into the opening round. That win, against a much higher-profile opponent than himself, landed him on the radar.

“They don’t need to Google me and try to find my fight on Youtube or something like this,” Dufort said of the response from fans. “Now they know, they know I’m a serious contender. They know how serious I am.”

Which means that, more than likely, 2024 PFL 5 opponent Adam Piccolotti knows how serious he is as well.

“I don’t think Adam is taking me for an easy fight. That’s fine, because I want the best challenge there is, and I know Adam is a pretty good challenge for me,” stated Dufort. Later, he’d add that he likes the pairing, calling himself a “nightmare match-up for everybody.

“I’m a cardio machine, I’ll be in your face for, if there’s three rounds, I’ll be in your face for three rounds. If there’s five rounds, I’ll be there for five rounds.” Beyond that, Dufort continued by saying that “I have a will that no one has, so I’ll show them, and I’ll make them regret every mistake they do.”

All that will, if things go Michael Dufort’s way, take him to another big finish. That’s always what he’s looking for at the end of the day. “If you bet on me, bet on the finish, guys. Don’t bet on the decision. I don’t like decisions, I don’t like judges, and judges don’t like me. So bet on finishes.”

Watch our full interview with PFL 5’s Michael Dufort above. His 2024 PFL 5 media day appearance can be found below.