Paddy Pimblett: “I Am Going To Take The Mantle Off Conor McGregor!”

Paddy Pimblett: “I Am Going To Take The Mantle Off Conor McGregor!”

By Jack Rainbow

One unfortunate characteristic of Paddy Pimblett’s career so far has been his struggles with injury. Six months out from another surgery, however, Paddy feels great:

“I went into the Bak fight three months after surgery. 6 weeks after getting the wires out. I should have never fought. All my coaches told me to pull out but I was an immature kid and I didn’t listen. I literally lost that fight because of the hand. I had the choke but I couldn’t get the strength cos my hand was f*. This month it is 6 months since my last surgery and this one was a ligament whereas the last one was a bone, so I don’t think it takes as long to recover.”

Having lost three times, Paddy no longer fears failure as much as he once did. The experience he got getting through the Bak loss, illustrated to himself his inner resilience:

“I look at it like this, losing is not as bad as it was. The first time, the first few weeks it kills you. When Bak beat me after that first round, I was so depressed for a couple of months. It was horrible. It properly hurt my feelings, I went to a deep dark depression and if it wasn’t for the people close to me, I don’t know if I would still be here.

“I was so choked, and I didn’t think I would ever get out of there but I did. I am so happy now. You don’t understand how ready I feel for this fight. I feel on top of the world, I am so excited. I am so fit, my weight is brilliant, I feel on fire when I am training, I am going to light him up. This will be the best performance you have ever seen from me.”

Paddy is naturally disappointed that nearly a year to the day from his most recent performance, that he is back fighting behind closed doors, but accepts that he at least has the experience to combat it:

“Of course, it’s not the same with no fans there, but if you want to fight these days you have got to get on with it. I fought in the BT studio a few years ago, and that was even weirder as there were only about 100 there and 50 were there for me! I heard every one of my mates talking and it half got in the way of my coach’s advice. The good thing about behind closed doors is you can hear their suggestions.”

Davide Martinez has accumulated an impressive record, but his experience fighting in small hall shows, means Paddy believes he will adapt well to the behind closed doors competition:

“He’s used to fighting with no one there. He’s used to fighting in sports halls the bum. That was devastating last year. It wasn’t his fault, but I was meant to fight Joe Giannetti and he showed up 11 pounds overweight. Then I was meant to fight Donovan Desmae in March and he pulled out, and then Martinez stepped in, and then Italy went into lockdown. For years I would fight the opponent I would get, whereas now it is the opposite. It wouldn’t surprise me if Martinez pulled out and I fought someone else.”

When asked if he had requested the Martinez fight after their unfinished business I got an emphatic answer. He was not Paddy’s first choice:

“No, I wanted to fight for the belt but the Agit Sardani wouldn’t show up. I put it forward to Cage Warriors and asked to fight for the belt, and got told he wasn’t defending, and obviously now he is fighting Mehdi Ben Lakdhar for the belt”

People turning him down has become something Paddy has become all too familiar with. He is especially sick of fighters making out as they want the fight online, and then not asking for it physically:

“Yeah, people don’t want to fight me I know it’s that. You hear them all chat about me on Instagram, You see fighters chat about me but no one puts my name forward to Ian Dean. Chat all the s*** you want but be honest. Jack Grant did that the other day and said he asked to fight me, but no he didn’t, it doesn’t matter what you say online. Ian Deans the matchmaker, and he said Davide Martinez wanted to fight me and I said sound I will finish him, and then I will go to the UFC. Within a week of finishing this fight and knocking that mushroom out, I will be signing that contract.”

As often, I ended the interview by asking Paddy where he believed he could be in a few years if he can fulfill his self-prophecy and sign with the UFC after Saturday’s performance. His confident response was no shock:

“The biggest star in MMA. I am going to take the mantle off McGregor.”

Pimblett and Martinez meet at #CW122 on Saturday night.

Photo Credit: Cage Warriors

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