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Zuhosky’s Take #7: Paddy Pimblett: UFC’s Next Big Thing

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Over the weekend, the UFC welcomed its newest signing at lightweight, Paddy Pimblett, (17-3, 1-0 UFC) the one-time Cage Warriors champion at 155 lbs.

His first test in MMA’s top organization was an encounter against Luigi Vendramini (9-3, 1-2 UFC) to open up the main card of UFC Vegas 36 from the UFC Apex facility – but it was by no means an easy fight, particularly in the early going on Saturday afternoon.

Paddy “The Baddy” In Deep Waters Early On

Vendramini was on a mission to seek and destroy Pimblett in the early moments of the bout, scoring repeatedly with left-handed shots, nearly knocking the debuting Liverpool native out in the process.

It was at this point that the former champ knew that he had to fight back – and he fought back in a big way to flip the script. If people didn’t know the name Paddy Pimblett before the fight started, they certainly know the name now.

In the run-up to this weekend’s card, Overtime Heroics’ Cooper Burke talked to Paddy Pimblett and in retrospect, this quote is most telling.

“Wherever the fight goes, I dominate,” Pimblett said. “If Luigi wants to strike with me, I’m going to out-strike him. If he wants to grapple with me, I’m going to grapple. It’s that simple. No matter where the fight goes, I am the better fighter, and I’ll prove that.”

Pimblett more than backed up his claims in the fight, repeatedly teeing off with right-handed shots, starting with a nasty right hook to fold Luigi Vendramini like an accordion and score the come from behind TKO inside the opening round.

Molly McCann, who fought just ahead of Pimblett on the featured prelim of the card, emerged from the back of the venue to give her fellow Liverpool native some well-deserved applause.

Pimblett Delivers Memorable Post-Fight Interview

In his post-fight interview with UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping, Pimblett confirmed his guarantee:

“What did I tell you, Mike?”, Pimblett asked. “Me and you will be having this conversation after the first-round finish… and what happened?”

Later on in the interview, Paddy Pimblett cut one of the best promos so far this year in the UFC.

“You know what we’re saying, lad? I’m a scouser,” he said. “We don’t get knocked out. Hey, I take that (expletive deleted) all day.”

In addition, he tried his hand at color commentary while walking Bisping and the home audience through the fight-ending sequence.

“Let’s see this, lad,” he began. “You see that Chris Williams boxing, mate? That Alban Hamson and Adam Vinci pad work? That’s what that is lad. Boom! Right hand! And again, you ready, you ready? SLEEP, KID! GO TO SLEEP!”

In the post-fight press conference on Saturday, UFC President Dana White awarded Pimblett the $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for his efforts, an award shared with Tom Aspinall.

The Final Verdict

Saturday’s main card opener was Paddy Pimblett’s first voyage inside a UFC cage, and in my opinion, he’s got miles to go before his last voyage in MMA.

He’s only 26 years old and will not turn 27 years of age until a few days after the change of the calendar in January, so Paddy Pimblett is still several years away from reaching his peak in the sport, at the very least.

Pimblett will only continue to evolve and push forward with his MMA acumen as time wears on, so Saturday’s fight was only a small sample size as to what Paddy “The Baddy” is going to be truly capable of inside the famed Octagon.

There is no doubt in my mind that Paddy Pimblett is going to become the UFC’s next big superstar, weight class notwithstanding, and that’s his ultimate goal, as he pointed out to Cooper Burke prior to the fight.

“People love me or hate me for me, know what I mean?”, he said. “And whether you love me or hate me, you want to watch me fight, whether that’s to watch me win or watch me get beat and that’s just as simple as that. So, I know after this fight I’m going to blow up right to a different stratosphere. I’m going to be one of the biggest names in MMA after this one fight, believe me.”

In closing, here’s this prediction:

By this time two years from today, Paddy Pimblett will be a household name in the UFC and will be on track to fight on a pay-per-view main event.

Follow me on Twitter at @DrewZuhosky to see my latest work. Follow us on social media at @OTHeroicsMMA to stay tuned in with our content! Please visit our web page to keep up with everything MMA!

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images

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