Paddy Pimblett may already be a star in the UFC, but his drawing power may far outweigh his ability to eventually make waves as a legitimate contender in the lightweight division.
Perhaps the best proof of that came this past weekend at UFC 282, when the 27-year-old fighter from the United Kingdom earned a controversial decision over Jared Gordon. Outside of the three judges sitting cageside that night, Pimblett didn’t seem to win on anybody’s scorecards, with most believing Gordon got absolutely robbed.
Regardless of the result, Matt Brown actually predicted Gordon would win, and says what he saw out of Pimblett on Saturday night was pretty much exactly what he expected.
“So many things in his game are so far behind that he almost has to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch, and go back to Cage Warriors and try again almost,” Brown said on the latest episode of The Fighter vs. The Writer.
“Because he’s in the snake pit now — if they move him up. I don’t think they’re going to move him up. I think after that performance, he’s going to stay down fighting in the 20 to 30 [ranked] guys, maybe even lower than that. He’s going to have a very hard time.”
Pimblett’s biggest struggle through the first two rounds were defensive issues that saw him eat a lot of punches from Gordon, especially from a left hook that almost landed at will.
Despite those deficiencies, Pimblett still got the win on the scorecards, and afterward he felt completely confident in his performance. In fact, Pimblett went as far as suggesting he should’ve won all three rounds rather than the 29-28 scores the judges returned in his favor.
Maybe after re-watching the fight, Pimblett will change his opinion, but Brown believes it’s all part of the persona “The Baddy” has been building since first joining the UFC roster.
“He’s a professional social media guy, his hobby is fighting,” Brown said. “What else would he say? He doesn’t have a real answer for it. Of course he’s going to go ahead and go with the narrative that he won. If he admits defeat, it makes him look worse. It makes us sit here and talk about it more. That’s all he really wants. He wants more clicks, he wants more views. He’s a social media professional. He’s an amateur fighter.
“What I’m getting at, I wouldn’t expect him to say anything different publicly. The only way he’s going to improve is if he goes back and does some soul searching in his room by himself, not on social media, not on YouTube. Not on whatever TikTok f****** s*** he’s famous on. He searches deep within himself and makes some changes. He’s going to have to decide this is what he wants. He’s going to have to say, ‘Do I want to be a social media superstar or do I want to be a fighter?’”
At 4-0 now in his UFC career and just competing in a co-main event on pay-per-view, Pimblett would appear to be moving towards even bigger opportunities, which would likely also mean tougher competition.
Brown cautions Pimblett against taking any fights right now against ranked opposition or even drawing opponents with top-15 level talent because he doesn’t think any of those matchups will end well for him.
“I don’t know why people like this guy. I don’t get it,” Brown said. “Maybe I’m a f****** old grump. Maybe I’m an old man. Maybe I’m a boomer. Call me what you want but I don’t get the personality hype that everyone likes about him. But people do, so good for him. He’s going to have to capitalize on that the best he can. That’s what it seems like he’s doing. But he’s not going to do it based on his performances in the octagon.
“They’re probably going to move him down, in my opinion. That’s the move if you’re trying to keep Paddy alive and keep utilizing his hype for the UFC machine. If you move him up, he’s going to get f****** molly-whopped.”
Based on the UFC’s rankings, Renato Moicano is currently sitting in the No. 15 spot, and Brown says there’s no way he would suggest that fight for Pimblett right now.
“[Renato] Moicano doesn’t even have to train for that fight,” Brown said. “His last fight he came in on short notice. He literally doesn’t even have to train and he beats Paddy any way that he wants. Paddy has a tough road ahead of him.
“He’s got the social media brand and that’s all there is to it. He’s got the social media brand, he’s not going to be a world-class fighter. He’s not going to be a top-10 guy.”
Unfortunately because Pimblett has built such a following to the point where he’s likely going to be headlining events in the near future, there may not be a way for him to step back and face easier competition.
“Let me be clear, I don’t think Paddy has a lot of guys in the UFC that he beats left,” Brown said. “Unless he goes like way down and fights the debuting guys and bring in guys for him to [beat] or they know match up terribly with him, things like that.
“Paddy was co-main event. If they’re going to put him at co-main event again, he doesn’t want to go down on the slot, he wants to stay at least co-main event or main event, he’s got to fight somebody with at least enough name for that to make sense. If he fights somebody with enough name, there’s nobody out there for him to beat. You can go down the whole list of every lightweight. There’s nobody for him to beat I don’t think.”