Paddy Pimblett will have plenty of options for his next fight following a win at UFC London, but he’s not interested in Ilia Topuria — or any top 15 ranked opponents — just yet.
As the biggest fan favorite at the O2 Arena on Saturday, the 27-year-old Scouser relished in his victory over Kazula Vargas, but barely got a chance to celebrate before hearing about a callout from Topuria following a viral hotel altercation between the two prior to the event.
After his own win earlier in the night, Topuria bashed Pimblett and said he wanted to face “that blonde b****” as his next opponent.
“Everyone wants to fight me,” Pimblett said at UFC London’s post-fight press conference. “Everyone wants to hang on my coattails. No one knew who hand sanitizer boy was until he tried to start an altercation with me. No one knew who he was. I’m the draw. Everyone wants to fight me.”
Pimblett gave credit where credit is due and said he was impressed by Topuria’s own finish at UFC London, a violent second-round knockout of Jai Herbert to kick off the main card.
That said, Pimblett isn’t interested in entertaining the idea of Topuria as his next opponent no matter how badly the Georgian fighter might want it.
“Give him his due, it was a good knockout,” Pimblett said. “It was a very good knockout, especially after taking that head kick in the first round. But if I hit him with that head kick, I would finish him.
“But as I say, he’s just hand sanitizer boy to me. A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of sheep.”
As far as his own performance, Pimbett was critical about some early mistakes he made against Vargas before turning the tables with a takedown and the fight-ending submission.
It wasn’t perfect, but “The Baddy” can only promise that the crowd will always leave happy after watching him fight, and he certainly delivered that kind of enthusiasm with his win.
“That was gangster,” Pimblett said. “That was sick. I said what was going to happen and it happened. I looked a bit chiseled to start, but I’m never in a boring fight, am I? I don’t talk s***. First-round finish and I got it. As soon as I got that little judo throw and put him on his back, I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s over now.’ I was thinking of a flying triangle, but he kept holding my hand. Imagine how much it would have went off if I got that?
“It was a sloppy takedown attempt from me, to be honest. Quite disappointed in my performances, but I got the first-round finish and that’s all that matters.”
In Pimblett’s mind, he probably should have been the main event on Saturday, especially with the raucous reaction he received from the London faithful.
“Without being a big-headed tool, I am the star of the show,” Pimblett said. “It’s that simple.
“Expect me to take over the show. I told you this. This is the ‘Baddy’ show. Swept The O2 right up.”
With Topuria seemingly out of the running, Pimblett isn’t sure who will be next for him, but he’s not rushing ahead when it comes to his level of competition in the lightweight division.
While he’s always game for a challenge, the 2-0 budding UFC star also understands that he’s not earning massive paychecks in his career just yet — and until that changes, he’s not going to try tackling the best fighters in the world.
“I wouldn’t take a top 15 fight,” Pimblett said. “I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t. Add some more zeroes to my contract and then I will. I think I proved tonight that I deserve a new contract. Not this little standard one.”