Paddy Pimblett’s latest fight booking has the MMA community talking. The ‘Baddy’ has been a hot topic of conversation ever since joining the UFC back in 2021. With a thrilling, action-forward fighting style and a tendancy to speak his mind in interviews and on social media, he’s a fighter that draws opinions from fans and pundits alike.
However, this latest round of headlines doesn’t have so much to do with what Pimblett’s been saying or even how he’s fighting. It all has to do with who the UFC decided to put across the Octagon from the 28-year-old scouser.
Daniel Cormier thinks Tony Ferguson has ‘one more night in him’
Paddy Pimblett is set to fight former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson on December 16th at UFC 296. On a six-fight losing streak, the announcement that the 39-year-old Ultimate Fighter season 13 winner would be facing one of the UFC’s fastest rising stars has brought a substantial amount of backlash from fans, who see the promotion as trying to build Pimblett’s name off a faded veteran. But, several notable former fighters have defended the move. Most prominent among them is former UFC double champ Daniel Cormier.
“Is it as simple as he just needs one?” Cormier suggested in a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel (transcript via MMA Fighting). “Because imagine what happens if Tony Ferguson beats Paddy Pimblett. He said before the last fight, I sat with him in the fighter meeting and Tony Ferguson said, ‘It’s going to be a fight right now, five more fights, I’m on the title.’ So, it’s not like he has lost that desire to fight. He has not lost the thought that he can be a world champion.”
“I’m gonna tell you this right now, and this is the saying as old as time, fellas. Every great champion has one more night in him. We saw it with George Foreman when he beat Michael Moorer. He did not belong in the ring with Michael Moorer. We have seen so many great fighters have one great night, where if you close your eyes and you squint enough, they remind you of that person that was on that run.”
It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of Ferguson’s potential, but it echoes sentiments that other former fighters are also giving on the matchup. In a recent episode of his podcast, Brendan Schaub made a stronger argument for Ferguson to get the victory.
Bloody Elbow merch now available
Bloody Elbow is pleased to announce our partnership with Revgear. They have been a pioneer in the MMA gear industry and have grown into a formidable brand and true leader in the market. Revgear now have Bloody Elbow t-shirts, hoodies and hats so you can show your support for independent MMA journalism.
Brendan Schaub sees Paddy Pimblett as a ‘winnable fight’
If Daniel Cormier came off as reserved but hopefull that Tony Ferguson could find the kind of vintage form that once made him an MMA star, Brendan Schaub sounds a lot more bullish on the idea. The former Ultimate Fighter season 10 finalist and current standup comedian even went so far as to suggest that Ferguson should have the edge.
“When this first got announced, a close friend of mine texted me saying, ‘It’s not announced yet, but I think they’re doing Tony Ferguson vs. Paddy Pimblett.’ Schaub explained (transcript via MMA Junkie). “And I go, ‘Finally. Finally, Tony gets a winnable fight.’ … Not that it’s an easy fight, but look at his last seven fights. Bobby Green, he got submitted, that was a tough one. But Nate Diaz, which was short notice, Michael Chandler, (Beneil) Dariush, Charles Oliveira and Justin Gatheje. Before that, it was (Donald) Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Kevin Lee, (Rafael) Dos Anjos. What? Look at who he’s fighting.”
“My question for anybody going, ‘Oh, I see what the UFC is doing with this. It’s clear as day. They’re just feeding this young lion to Tony Ferguson,’” he continued. “My question for you guys is: Do you really think Paddy Pimblett won his last fight? Most don’t. He’s probably coming off a loss against Jared Gordon. Before that, the only people Paddy has beat was Jordan Leavitt, (Rodrigo) Vargas. They’re impressive fights, but he’s been hit in all those fights. … What aspect of MMA is Paddy Pimblett better at than Tony Ferguson? Striking? No. Grappling? No. Wrestling? No way.”
It’s a sentiment also echoed by Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping as well. None of whom are exactly picking Ferguson to win, but all of whom seem to feel that this is a totally appropriate fight for Pimblett given what he’s shown to date in his UFC career so far.
UFC 296 is expected to be headlined by a pair of title fights. In the main event, welterweight champion Leon Edwards is set to take on former interim champ Colby Covington. In the co-main, Alexandre Pantoja will make the first defense of his flyweight title against Brandon Royval. The card will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Join the new Bloody Elbow
Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Connor Reubusch. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.
About the author