Paddy Pimblett booked to fight Tony Ferguson amid concerns
Paddy Pimblett is due to fight Tony Ferguson on December 16 at UFC 296 and when that booking was made, the MMA community immediately recoiled at the idea. Ferguson is on a six-fight losing streak and four of those six were finishes. Even matched up with someone that many consider an over-hyped prospect, it’s still a pairing that gives pause.
Pimblett entered the UFC with a storied Cage Warriors run behind him, but his performances have left many using words like “rudimentary” and “unpolished”—and those were the kinder descriptors. His first fight in the octagon was against Luigi Vendramini (released in May 2022) and according to pundits, displayed significant defensive issues and technique after getting rocked early in the fight.
Pimblett would get through Rodrigo Vargas (also released in May 2022) and Jordan Leavitt with rear-naked choke submissions, all while receiving mixed reviews, with the majority of the negative ones focusing on his defensive porosity. Then, he met up with Jared Gordon this past December.
That fight would see Pimblett pushed to the limit in a back-and-forth battle that he ultimately won, but was hotly contested by both Gordon and the MMA community at large. During that bout, Paddy sustained an ankle injury that’s required ligament reconstruction surgery. By the time he meets Ferguson at UFC 296, he will have more than a year of down time.
Paddy’s patented plan
Paddy Pimblett recently spoke to The Schmo about his upcoming bout and what he needs to regain momentum and continue his charge towards a UFC title. An early finish seems to be his recipe for success:
“Can’t get ahead of myself, especially after my last performance,“ said Pimblett. “All I’m thinking about now is coming out and finishing Tony Ferguson in the first round. Make a statement; let everyone know what they were missing. And then I’ll start looking at ranked opponents in the new year.”
“I’ve got a statement to make,” Pimblett repeated. “It’s been a while since I’ve had so long outside the cage. By the time I fight, I’ll have over a year out of the cage. The amount of training I’ve done to get better and I’m just a different fighter. It’s gonna be The Baddy 2.0, a new mythical fighter is going to get unlocked.”
UFC 296 details
UFC 296 will feature a welterweight title fight between reigning champion Leon Edwards and No. 2 contender Colby Covington in the headlining spot. The co-main event will feature a flyweight title fight between reigning champion Alexandre Pantoja and No. 4 contender Brandon Royval. Paddy Pimblett vs. Tony Ferguson will be the third fight from the top.
Mongolian sensation Shavkat Rakhmonov will be taking on Stephen Thompson and Irish star Ian Machado Garry will be facing Vicente Luque on the stacked card which takes place on December 16, 2023 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. PPV purchases must be made through the ESPN+ app at a cost of $79.99 for the event and the current subscription price of $10.99/month for ESPN+ (up $1 since the subscription increase earlier this month went into effect).
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