Paddy Pimblett returns against Tony Ferguson at UFC 296
Paddy Pimblett is trying to find the upside in his fight against Tony Ferguson. A year after his most recent Octagon appearance — a controversial win against Jared Gordon at UFC 282 this past December — the ‘Baddy’ returns for what he sees as the toughest test of his UFC career thus far.
“It’s a big fight,” said Pimblett during an interview with Marc Raimondi of ESPN. “The biggest fight of my life, fighting an absolute legend of the sport. He’s one of the top five lightweights of all time. He was on a 12-fight win streak. He’s a brilliant fighter. He’s got a great personality, as well, so I can’t wait to share the Octagon with such a legend.”
Is there a downside to fighting Ferguson?
Paddy Pimblett says there is, especially since fighting the ‘legend’ Tony Ferguson has more of a downside than an upside now. Since its announcement, Ferguson vs. Pimblett has received a lot of criticism due to the difference in trajectory the duo find themselves in career-wise. The up-and-coming contender has four straight wins in the UFC, while Ferguson has suffered losses in six consecutive fights.
Though he has already faced criticism for previous fights, Paddy Pimblett expects even more, regardless of how this fight goes.
“This is a lose-lose situation for me because when I beat him, people are going to be like, ‘Tony was finished anyway. He needed to retire anyway,’” said Pimblett. “But if the unthinkable happens and I do lose, I’ve been beaten by a finished Tony Ferguson.
“So it’s one of them. It is a lose-lose situation, but at the same time, I’ve told you before and I’ll say it again: I never turn down a fight,” continued Pimblett. “Whatever fight gets offered to me, I take it. And I got offered Tony Ferguson, so I signed on the dotted line.”
Paddy Pimblett gives Ferguson props despite downturn in career
Most see Tony Ferguson nearing retirement after going 0-6 in his past six appearances. Prominent figures such as UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier have had the retirement conversation regarding Ferguson, who swatted away any efforts to get him to remove his gloves for good in the near future.
“When I feel like I’m ready to retire, I will retire. But right now it’s a little bit different, a little bit more interesting,” said in an interview with Brett Okamoto of ESPN. “DC and all these commentators that just keep repeating the same s—t in the past couple of years, because that’s what they want me to do. They want the public eye to see me like that and they want to see me as a quitter and so on and so forth.
“I never cheated to get on the scales to retain my championship like DC, hashtag ‘towel gate,’ these guys grabbing the towel, trying to lift some pounds off the scale. The UFC [was] right there, they went with it. It’s like an inside job.
“This guy wants to call it out, I’m going to call you right back out. You don’t have to be an a—hole to the people who actually work hard,” continued Ferguson. “There’s a lot of up-and-coming fighters that see that s—t and they’re going to try and go with the clique and that’s it. So don’t start that s—t. I’ve literally given my shirt off my back to the fans, and same thing with the UFC, and I’ll still take my shirt off to go inside that f—ing Octagon and show that I’m the f—ing man. I’m still the f—ing champ.”
While that seems concerning to some, others such as Paddy Pimblett have no qualms about Ferguson continuing in his career. In fact, the Liverpudlian still sees some of the old Ferguson in his fights.
“He’s a very dangerous guy,” said Pimblett. “He can finish anyone. Even in the fights that he’s lost on the six-fight losing streak, he nearly finished Justin Gaethje in the second round, nearly finished Michael Chandler in the first round. He dropped Bobby Green in the first round. So it’s not as if in all of these fights he’s being absolutely dominated.”
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