Paddy Pimblett’s UFC debut was well worth the wait as the British MMA fighter scored a first-round knockout of Luigi Vendramini on Saturday night.
Having previously turned down the promotion on two occasions, the highly-touted Liverpool prospect made his long-awaited UFC debut against Vendramini, and he left quite an impression with a convincing triumph at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
The former Cage Warriors champion was understandably the name on everyone’s lips after his display – but he admits he is far from the finished article at the age of just 26.
“Yeah, one hundred per cent,” he told reporters at the post-fight press conference in Las Vegas.
“Either that or run out in five seconds and getting a flying knee like Masvidal, but yeah, that was perfect.
“I showed everyone that I can come through adversity, as well, because he did catch me with a nice left hook.
“I need to stop letting people punch me in the face, lad, I want to put on too much of a show, lad, so I just put my hands down and get into firefights with people.
“I do it in the gym, my coaches Paul, Ellis, Adam and Chris, my boxing coach, they all moan at me for it, do you know what I mean? ‘What are you doing? Get your hands up!’
“I can’t help myself lad, I like fighting, so I do let people hit me sometimes, which is pretty stupid because it could go wrong, but it didn’t go wrong, it was never going to go wrong.”
Pimblett won the Cage Warriors featherweight title in just his 13th professional fight and is arguably already one of the hottest prospects in Europe.
“This is my destiny. I’m here. I’m the new kid on the block,” he added.
“I told yous the other day: I’m going to get a first-round finish.
“People think I’m a grappler and I’ve just shut everyone up.
“I can strike, I can grapple, I can wrestle, and I’ve got the personality, I’ve got the look: The new king is here lad.”
Fighting out of Next Generation MMA in Liverpool, England, Pimblett insists that he is happy to take on all comers.
“I don’t care, Luigi Vendramini was the fourth name I got put forward to me for this fight, every other name, I said yeah,” he said when asked who he would like to fight for his next bout.
“I’ll never say no to a fight. I’m not a b——–.
“Whatever name gets put to me on the contract, I’m going to sign it and I’m going to fight them.
“I don’t care if they’re ranked or they’re not ranked or where they’re from or where it is – if it’s in their backyard.”