Ilia Topuria wants a fight with Paddy Pimblett. Just don’t expect him to hold his breath waiting for it.
At UFC London on Saturday, Topuria scored one of the best knockouts of the year when he drilled Jai Herbert with a right hook in the second round. In his post-fight interview, he mentioned Pimblett as a possible opponent, but later sounded reluctant to discuss the popular English fighter when speaking to the media backstage.
“Right now I feel so happy, I don’t want to waste my words about him, so f*** him,” Topuria said when first asked about Pimblett.
Earlier this week, the fighters had an altercation at the UFC’s athlete hotel that resulted in Topuria throwing punches at Pimblett and Pimblett firing back with a bottle of hand sanitizer. Both fighters were victorious on Saturday night, with Topuria defeating Herbert and Pimblett scoring a first-round submission win over Kazula Vargas.
Pimblett was also dismissive of the feud when speaking to the media on Wednesday, referring to Topuria as “Mr. Hand Sanitizer.”
Topuria eventually shared his thoughts on Pimblett, stating that he thinks his rival will have to be held at gunpoint by UFC president Dana White to make the fight happen.
“Never,” Topuria said. “Never ever, I don’t think so. Maybe if Dana stayed with him with a gun, maybe yes, and they force him to go inside the cage with me. Maybe. Otherwise, I don’t think so. I don’t think he has the balls to fight me.”
“With Paddy, I don’t give a f*** about any weight class,” he added. “Even if he want to come and don’t make the weight, I’m gonna fight him. I don’t care about the weight with Paddy.”
Saturday marked Topuria’s debut at lightweight after previously competing at 145 pounds, a division that Pimblett has also competed in. Topuria improved to 4-0 in the UFC and 12-0 as a pro, achievements that he feels put him well ahead of Pimblett in the pecking order.
“Really, he’s nobody,” Topuria said in Spanish. “He’s s***. No, he’s nothing. The one who’s ranked is me. Since I take it personally, if the UFC wants it, I can still fight him tonight in that hotel.
“But if it doesn’t happen that way, I want to go back to 145 pounds. I want to go back to that business and finish it.”