Paddy Pimblett isn’t exactly thrilled with all the chatter surrounding his return to the Octagon.
On December 16, ‘The Baddy’ will compete for the first time since suffering a foot injury during his clash with Jared Gordon at UFC 282. Though Pimblett walked away with the unanimous decision, the victory didn’t come without a heap of controversy as pretty much everyone who watched the fight had Gordon doing more than enough to win the bout.
Compounding the backlash was Pimblett’s insistence that he won the fight, calling for a Fight of the Night bonus during his post-fight interview.
In a flash, the MMA community completely turned on him.
“It really does show just how fickle MMA fans are and how toxic our fans are,” Pimblett said during an appearance on the Energized Show. “In July, everyone loved me, and when it comes to December and I had a close fight, and after it I said, ‘I thought I won that,’ even though I don’t judge it, people were commenting on my posts saying I might as well take my own life. Absolutely crazy. The MMA fanbase is so toxic.”
Doing Pimblett no favors is an impending clash with struggling fan favorite Tony Ferguson. From the moment the UFC CEO, Dana White, announced the bout for the promotion’s final pay-per-view of the year, fans suggested that ‘The Baddy’ is taking an easy fight by picking the bones of a fighter on a six-fight losing streak and on the verge of retirement.
Speaking about the upcoming contest, Pimblett once again echoed his belief that this is a lose-lose situation for him.
“Obviously, he’s lost six in a row,” Pimblett said. “But they’re all big names, they’re all very good names apart from Bobby Green. So I don’t know. I really don’t. As I’ve said plenty of times, I see this as a lose-lose fight for me because if I did lose, people will be like, ‘Oh, you got beat by a washed Tony.’
“And when I win, people are going to be like, ‘Oh, Tony was washed anyway. It doesn’t matter.’ Even though I’m seeing everyone online picking Tony to beat me, I know for a fact, even when I win, I’m not going to get any credit.”
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Recently, Tony Ferguson made headlines by going through “hell week” with ex-U.S. Navy Seal and ultramarathon runner David Goggins. ‘El Cucuy’ was reportedly the first person to make it through the entire training camp, but Pimblett doesn’t quite see the point of Ferguson enlisting the help of Goggins.
“I think it’s bizarre,” Pimblett said. “I think it’s f*cking stupid. “If there’s two things Tony’s never needed help with is his mental state — because look at the armbar with Charles [Oliveira], he didn’t stop. And look at his cardio. He’s never had a problem with his cardio, so I don’t understand why he’s done it.”
He continued, “He must be thinking he’s not where he was mentally a couple of years ago,” Pimblett explained. “That’s not the reason he’s losing fights — it’s because he got older. and he’s lost athleticism, and he’s not as fast as he once was. Obviously, that beatdown from Gaethje changed his whole career, and then getting knocked out by Chandler the way that he did, his brain is not the same as it was three or four years ago.”
Paddy Pimblett Would Love to Share the Octagon with Conor McGregor Someday
Even with Ferguson on his way out, a victory for Pimblett at UFC 296 will likely push him to the next level of his quick rise through the UFC ranks. The victory could even put him on the radar as a future opponent for Irish megastar Conor McGregor.
Asked if he would like to compete against the former two-division titleholder inside the Octagon, Pimblett said:
“I think every single lightweight wants to fight him. Just like every single lightweight ranked underneath me wants to fight me. It’s different with me, obviously. People want to fight me because people think I’m an easy fight, especially after my last performance. With Conor, you want to fight him for that [money].”
But first, Pimblett will have to deal with Ferguson, a fighter determined to turn things around and get back into the win column for the first time in four years.
“I want a war,” Pimblett said of his showdown with Ferguson. “I want to look like Anthony Pettis after he fought him, and I want him to look worse than Anthony Pettis after he fought him. I want a scrap, lad. I’m going to come in and throw down.”
Watch the full interview below: