Undefeated featherweight sensation Ilia Topuria is set to compete against No. 5-ranked Josh Emmett in the upcoming UFC Jacksonville main event, going down this Sat. night (June 24, 2023) on ABC from inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
A victory for Topuria is likely to reward him with a spot in the division Top 5 and with reigning champion Alex Volkanovski running out of title contenders, “El Matador” could find himself in the championship conversation with a big performance in “The Sunshine State.”
That why Topuria has abandoned his beef with lightweight “Baddy” Paddy Pimblett.
“Paddy, you know what happens with Paddy? He’s a person that media attention wise, he’s big. But as a fighter we all know he’s not worth anything,” Topuria said during a recent media day (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “He’s not even ranked. He hasn’t done anything. So giving merit to a person that’s only where he is because he knows how to sell himself well, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. We’re athletes. In the UFC, the difference between them and other organizations is that here what’s valued is the sport and Paddy, sporting wise, hasn’t achieved anything. That’s why he doesn’t interest me at all.”
Pimblett is currently unranked at 155 pounds.
The pair nearly came to blows at the UFC hotel last year in London, England, with a hand sanitizer bottle getting launched across the room. During a subsequent press conference, “The Baddy” dared Topuria to fight him right there on the spot, so “El Matador” rose to his feet and made his move.
Security was having none of it.
Pimblett (20-3) is coming off a controversial split decision victory over Jared Gordon at UFC 282 late last year, the same event that saw Topuria (13-0) mangle flat earth fanatic Bryce Mitchell. “The Baddy” would go on to have major surgery and is not expected to return until early 2024.