A year or so ago, Ilia Topuria was all-in on a fight against Paddy Pimblett. The pair got into it after the ‘Baddy’ tweeted a dig at Georgians in 2021 (during an exchange with UFC fighter Guram Kutateladze), referencing the 2008 Russo-Georgian War that led to many Georgian casualties. Topuria, along with several Georgian fighters, lost family in that war, so they condemned Pimblett for the comment, which he deleted and apologized for in an interview.
Still, the comment never sat well with Ilia Topuria, who was hoping to secure a fight with Pimblett — and he nearly did when the pair were scheduled for the same event. At UFC London in 2022, ‘El Matador’ and Pimblett were separated after a small scuffle inside the host hotel. ‘This is what happens when you disrespect me and my country!,’ wrote Topuria in response to Pimblett in a now-deleted video. Topuria and Pimblett went on to win their respective fights at that event.
Fast forward a few months, and the pair were scheduled for the same event once again. During the pre-fight press conference For UFC 282 this past December, the Georgian-Spanish fighter rushed Pimblett and was restrained by UFC security. After winning their respective fights again, all signs seemingly pointed at a potential Topuria vs. Pimblett fight in the near future. However, the fight failed to come to fruition, and after these recent comments from Topuria, it may never.
Ilia Topuria no longer interested in Paddy Pimblett fight
During a recent media appearance, Ilia Topuria commented on a potential fight with Paddy Pimblett and whether he was still interested in it. The short answer? No.
“Paddy, you know what happens with Paddy?,” said Topuria at a recent event (translation via Danny Segura of MMA Junkie). “He’s a person that media attention-wise, he’s big. But as a fighter we all know he’s not worth anything. 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,” continued Topuria. “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.”
What does interest Ilia Topuria is his upcoming fight against Josh Emmett at UFC Jacksonville this Saturday. Despite having a one-off at lightweight, the 26-year-old is focused on featherweight, where he is currently 4-0 with wins against Damon Jackson, Ryan Hall and most recently, Bryce Mitchell.
A win over Emmett could get Topuria closer to a championship fight with Alexander Volkanovski, who is currently set for a unification against Yair Rodríguez.
What is Paddy Pimblett up to?
As for Paddy Pimblett, the former Cage Warriors champion is sidelined after undergoing surgery for the ankle he injured in his controversial fight against Jared Gordon. There is no word yet on when he expects to return, but Pimblett hopes he can near the end of the year.
“I can’t wait,” said Pimblett said on his official YouTube channel. “I’m hoping to fight before the end of the year to be honest, kick some little fart’s head in. I was sh—t in my last fight, lad. It was a bad performance. I’ve said it myself, you’re only as good as your last fight, and I looked sh—t. But when I come back, everyone will be sucking my arse again.”
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