Paddy Pimblett: “I was put on this earth to entertain people when I fight.”
By Jack Rainbow
When I asked Paddy Pimblett how he was feeling a week out from his much-anticipated return I got a simple yet clear answer:
“I feel f*g great.”
This is quite the statement, especially when considering the difficulties for UK fighters to train, with the gyms not being fully open due to the current lockdown:
“It’s not as good, as we don’t have a lot of the amateurs in. Only the professionals can train so at the minute it is just all the pros. We don’t have as many bodies as usual, but our coaches have more time for us.
“In our gym, we can only go in the morning. We go in for two or three hours in the morning. I am having to do all my strength and conditioning with Paul Reed, who also is my nutritionist as he has his own gym called the Barn. Nathan Gorman goes there too, as we are all pro-athletes it is allowed.”
Paddy’s return comes eerily close to the date last year where he swept past Decky Dalton. He was a short-notice replacement for Davide Martinez, ironically the man Paddy will fight this year:
“It is weird that it was a year to the day that we were meant to fight! I’ve managed to watch some of his fights, It is something I never used to do which was quite stupid of me, l used to let my coach do it. I’ve grown up a lot over the last couple of years and realised I need to do this stuff myself. I’ve watched a couple of his fights and I don’t see anywhere he can even trouble me.
“I am a better wrestler, I have better jiu-jitsu and I am a better striker. He is going to try to take me down and hold me and stay in my guard, and throw the odd few strikes to keep it down. He is 8-2 with 6 decisions and the caliber of fighters are nowhere near the ones I’ve fought never mind me.”
As Paddy touched upon, this fight is a major step up for Martinez, who has mostly fought on the regional circuit before this fight:
“If you look at the records of his opponents there not up to scratch. His last opponent was 1-1. People had a go at me for fighting Decky Dalton, but give him his due, he took that on 9 days notice and Decky is no bum, he’s fought people like Peter Queally. He had a fight two weeks before and was ready. Decky Dalton was a much tougher fight than Davide Martinez. He probably just wants to hold me to the floor and it’s not going to happen.
“Because I have been around so long people forget how young I am, and try to undermine my opponents. Dalton took it on short notice and is a good opponent. Look at my losses. Nad Narimani went on to the UFC. Soren Bak went to Bellator, Cameron Else also went to the UFC. The people who beat me all went on to bigger and better things. Look at the people I have beat. Ashleigh Grimshaw, I dominated him when I was 21 Julian Erosa as well, who is now on a two-fight win streak in the UFC and that’s just a few.”
It was touched upon in the interview, how despite Martinez being looked at as the prospect in this match-up, it is Paddy who is actually the younger fighter. This is something Paddy is used to, however:
“A lot of people say to me that they don’t even realise how young I am. They are shocked I am only 26. I have been around forever. It was 9 years ago I put that post on the Cage Warriors forum saying I’m the best amateur bantamweight. I’ve been around a while, haven’t I. But in a lot of people’s eyes, I am still a prospect as I am not in the UFC yet. It doesn’t concern me what people say though. I don’t take any notice of it.”
In my two interviews with Paddy, it has been made clear how grounded his approach to the sport is. He claims this is something he did not start with:
“To be honest I don’t know what it is. If people had spoken to me a couple of years ago I may have been big-headed. When I won that belt I was a daft kid, partying all the time, thinking everything would fall on to a plate for me. I got a wake-up call and it makes you realise how lucky you are to be in this sport. Some of my mates go work on roofs and tarmac, and it’s not as if they are unhappy, but they wish they could do what I do, so I have a lot more appreciation for what I do. I was put on this earth to entertain people when I fight.”
It has been put on record Paddy believes this will be his last fight in Cage Warriors. He is confident of that and envisions an emphatic performance before moving to the UFC:
“If I win this fight in the first round, put a nice bold statement on my Cage Warriors career, highlight-reel KO or submission, I’m off. I just know it’s going to happen. I know this Davide cannot test me anywhere. I think it’s going to be a one-sided beatdown, like Holloway vs Kattar, but it will have a finish.”
It is known that Paddy has rejected the UFC on a couple of occasions. This was with good reason, however:
“I’ve rejected them a number of times. Back then I was only a kid. When they first offered me a contract I was 21. I had just won the belt, and Cage Warriors came in with a crazy offer that was more than UFC money. People don’t take that into account. People assume I’m lying but why? Cage Warriors came in with a better offer. UFC pays in dollars and you get taxed in the US then taxed here. I got a flat rate that was more than the UFC contract from Cage Warriors.
“I was only 21 then. I never had my man’s strength, I was very immature and was partying and thought I was unbeatable. I needed a wake-up call and I got it. I was so young and everything fell on a plate back then. If I went then I would have been beaten up by bigger men and I would have been cut.”
In Part Two of our interview, Paddy talks more about his upcoming fight and reflects on his growth, and future, quite possibly in the UFC.