Paddy Pimblett made good on his first round finish prediction at UFC London last night (Sat., March 19, 2022), tossing opponent Kazula Vargas with a slick judo throw and then tapping him with a rear-naked choke just 3:50 into their fight (watch highlights here).
It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means. Pimblett got out-struck early before being forced into a sloppy takedown attempt that ended with him on his back. But, “The Baddy” stayed calm, worked his way back to his feet, and then took over. At UFC London’s post-fight press conference, he discussed the fight and how it went.
“That was gangster,” Pimblett exclaimed as he scarfed down pizza. “That was sick, lad. I said what was going to happen and it happened. I looked a bit s—t at the start, but I’m never in a boring fight.
“I don’t talk s—t,” he continued. “First round finish on the guy. As soon as I did that little J-throw judo throw and put him on his back I was like ‘Yeah, it’s over now.’ I was thinking of [inaudible pizza chewing / Liverpool slang] but he kept holding me hand. Imagine how much it would have gone off if I’d gotten that.”
While Pimblett certainly gave his fans something to get excited about, “The Baddy” knows the fight won’t change opinions amongst his doubters and haters.
“The funny thing is the haters are gonna hate still,” he said. “‘Oh, you couldn’t even take him down, you got a big punch, your defense is s—t.’ But, who won, you know what I mean? Who won? It was me, in the first round.”
One of Paddy’s biggest haters is fellow Lightweight, Ilia Topuria, who physically attacked Pimblett at the fighter hotel leading up to UFC London. Topuria’s debut in Pimblett’s weight class saw him knock out Jai Herbert earlier in the night. Immediately after he demanded a fight with Pimblett, which “The Baddy” has no interest in granting.
“I give him his due, it was a good knockout, it was,” Pimblett said. “It was a very good knockout, especially after taking that headkick in the face. If I hit him with that headkick, I’d finish him. But, as I say, he’s just ‘Hand Sanitizer Boy’ to me. The lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of sheep.”
“Everyone wants to fight me. Everyone wants to hang on my coattails. No one knew who Ilia Topuria was, no one knew who ‘Hand Sanitizer Boy’ was until he tried to start an altercation with me. No one knew who he was. I’m the draw. Everyone wants to fight me.”
One big topic of conversation was the obvious star power Pimblett had amongst fans in the United Kingdom. As far as Paddy is concerned, it was time for UFC to recognize he’s something special.
“I could have main evented this one,” Pimblett said. “I could have. I was the people’s main event. But, I’m not in no rush. If UFC doesn’t want to put me in the main event yet, they don’t have to. But, I think you saw from the build-up and all the stuff, the adverts and that, I think we know who the next star is, simple as.
“Expect me to take over the show, lad,” he continued. “I’ve told yous this. It’s the Baddy show. Storm Baddy arrived and swept the O2 right up.”
“I’ve had cameras following me around all week, lad,” he added later. “It’s mad because like I said, I’m not the main event or the co-main event. But, there’s a camera following me around 24/7, not the co-main event and the main event. Like ... without being a big headed tool, I am the star of the show. It’s that simple.”
It’s clear Pimblett is on track to become the next big UK star for the promotion, but if UFC wants him to take a step up in competition, it’ll also have to pay him more. Asked if he was ready to test himself against a ranked opponent, Pimblett said not without a change to his current purse size.
“No, lad, I wouldn’t take a Top 15 fight,” he said. “I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t. Add some more zeros to my contract and then I will. I think I proved tonight that I deserve a new contract. Not this little standard one.”
For complete UFC London: “Volkov vs. Aspinall” results and play-by-play, click HERE.