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Paddy Pimblett won’t rule out return to 145, but first he wants a lightweight title

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Dolly Clew, Cage Warriors

Paddy Pimblett will make his first outing as a lightweight when he takes on Greek prospect Alexis Savvidis at Cage Warriors 90 at the Echo Arena on Saturday. However, “The Baddy” isn’t ruling out a return to featherweight in the future.

After some troublesome cuts in the past, he finally thinks he has his weight under control.

“To put it into perspective, at the same time ahead of my last fight at featherweight I was 77 kilos (170 lbs), I had 12 kilos (26 lbs) to lose,” Pimblett told MMA Fighting.

“Today I woke up at 72.8 kilos (160 lbs), so I’ve got 2.5 kilos left to make championship weight in this division.”

After losing his featherweight belt in his last bout against Nad Narimani after five rounds in April, many felt as though lightweight would be Pimblett’s permanent home. Yet, he thinks he will drop down again once he has secured a lightweight title.

“I probably will move back down to featherweight, but I want to get the lightweight belt first. Then we can take a look at featherweight again. It’s possible now because I’ve started to be more professional. I feel like I’ve really switched on,” he said.

“I had a team from a university with me last time to help the cut, and if anything I think they made things worse. They were giving me these little cups of something like Red Bull so I would be able to get through sessions, but it did f*ck all. This time I hooked up with SA Nutrition, and they’ve really sorted me out, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m in the best shape of my life.”

Pimblett’s Next Generation teammate, Cage Warriors lightweight champion, Chris Fishgold, recently declared he would move down to featherweight after a successful title defense at Cage Warriors 88. Pimblett revealed that they had decided to stay in separate weight classes in the past, but things changed when hitting the featherweight limit became difficult.

“A few years ago we were asked what weight we wanted to fight at,” Pimblett recalled.

“At the time I was heavier than ‘Fishy’ but I still wanted to do featherweight. That’s just the way I am, I wanted to do featherweight, but I should’ve probably done lightweight — he’s had an easier run anyway, hasn’t he?” he quipped.

“I committed to featherweight and it ended up biting me in the arse a little bit. So, now, I’m planning to get this lightweight title and then I can go back down to feather and win my belt back. It’s still my f*cking belt.”

Being the headline act for a show in Liverpool is commonplace for Pimblett, but this time he will open the main card, with another Next Generation teammate, Molly McCann, set to top the card in her flyweight title fight with Bryony Tyrell.

Cage Warriors has cleverly placed its most recognizable star, Pimblett, alongside McCann in the lead up to the event to promote the show, and “The Baddy” has been happy to lend a hand.

“It’s not all about me. It might seem like everyone is talking about me but everyone in this gym deserves credit. I wouldn’t be in the situation that I’m in if it weren’t for Paul Rimmer, Ellis Hampson, Adam Ventre, Fishy and Molly. It’s not a one-way street, we all do things for each other, we’re like a family,” he said.

“I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, we’re not like these other gyms. You see these other gyms and they’re really clicky, groups of three and four people get on with each other and they stick together. We all get on very well, everyone of us. We’re like brothers and sisters, even with the kids in the gym. I’m in that gym more than I am in my house.”

As with anyone of Pimblett’s notoriety in MMA, he has his fair share of critics. Despite Savvidis boasting a record of 16-6-1 and suffering just one defeat in his last nine outings, people still argue that he isn’t a viable challenge for the Liverpudlian.

It’s nothing that Pimblett isn’t used to.

“As usual, I think a lot of people are looking past him,” said Pimblett.

“People are saying he’s sh*t, but that’s what happens with all of my opponents. They said the same thing about Nad (Narimani). It’s because I’m fighting them, a certain amount of people are always going to say that. It comes with the territory. People love to talk pony.”

Pimblett has set himself the task of getting rid of Savvidis in a quicker fashion that UFC veteran Paul Redmond. The Team Ryano man scored a second-round submission win over the Greek fighter when he made his Cage Warriors debut as a 19-year-old back in 2014.

“I think he’s a good opponent. Paul Redmond bet him in round two so I’ll be very disappointed if I don’t do better than that. He’s set the time so I need to beat that time,” he said.

“I’ve had a load of Greek fans getting onto me so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on him. It’s going to be dark in Liverpool for him, hopefully he can go and see the Cavern Club where The Beatles played so it isn’t a complete waste of time for him.”