Paddy Pimblett was booked against Tony Ferguson for UFC 296, in a bout that was slammed by most pundits for its shameless matchmaking.
Pimblett is on a six-fight winning streak, while the aging Ferguson is on a six fight losing streak. While anything can happen in a fight and “El Cucuy” can win, that type of match up never really happens, and it really seems like that UFC wants their potential UK cashcow to get a win over a name opponent that’s on his way out.
It’s also that possibility of Ferguson pulling off an upset that made UFC champion Sean O’Malley think that they put Paddy Pimblett in a situation that he can’t win.
Sean O’Malley believes that Paddy Pimblett is in a ‘lose-lose’ situation
Sean O’Malley thinks that based on their age and recent records, Paddy Pimblett is taking a risk for very little reward.
“Tony Ferguson vs. Paddy Pimblett, initial reaction I’m like, ‘goddamn, that’s a lose-lose for Paddy,'” Sean O’Malley said on his podcast. “You go out there and beat Tony, who’s really good, but on a six-fight losing streak, so you beat him, you’re not going to get credit for beating f—g Tony Ferguson. You’re going to get credit for beating a guy you should have beaten.
“But it’s a dangerous fight. It’s not that easy of a fight. It’s going to be a tough fight. Tony could 100% win this fight. Now you’re coming off a loss to a guy—I mean, at least it’s still T-Ferg, but is it T-Ferg?” Sean O’Malley said. “And Paddy hasn’t fought in a long time.”
Dana White thinks matchmaking is “perfect”
When media members brought up the criticism of the Paddy Pimblett vs. Tony Ferguson booking, Dana White doubled down and defended the “perfect” match up.
“I think a lot of people think that Paddy is unproven, and I think a lot of people feel like this is a fight Tony isn’t in deep water like he’s been in, in his last several fights,” White said. “I think the matchmaking and the timing on this fight is excellent and couldn’t be more perfect.
“If you look at Tony’s last few fights that he’s fought, he looked damn good,” he added. “Before the (Michael) Chandler finish, and every fight that’s he’s fought in the last two or three fights, he looked damn good, right up until the end. It’s a fun, interesting fight with two fun and interesting characters.”
Ferguson hasn’t won in the last four years, and he has lost six straight fights, with four of those being stoppages. While the 39-year-old has had a few moments where he’s landed some shots, I don’t think it’s accurate to describe his performances as looking “damn good.” As Sean O’Malley noted, anything can happen and Ferguson can win, but his physical tools, speed, movement, and reaction time are all clearly diminished, and there’s no disputing that he’s already well past his prime.
Instead of putting them in fun fights against fellow veterans, UFC will just squeeze everything they can from aging stars that are on their way out. Tenured vets deserve better, but I guess White is right that this matchmaking indeed “excellent” and “perfect”… for the UFC.
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