Former fighter Din Thomas recently Tweeted out saying “Paddy will be the reason the UFC loses Conor’s number”. While this statement may one day come to fruition, it still feels like we are a few fights away from that happening. For now, we are witnessing the rise of one of the UK’s most electrifying prospects.
Paddy recently fought at UFC fight night London where he tore the roof down with what seems to be yet another trademark performance vs Rodrigo Ramos. Much like his debut, Paddy was badly hurt early on, only to reverse his opponent and submit him in the 1st round. The 27-year-old scouser has now kicked off his UFC career with 2 consecutive victories and finishes all in the 1st round. But many are criticizing and comparing Paddy to that Sean O’Malley, whose list of opponents often gets called into question. But Paddy has more than made it clear, HE DOES NOT CARE! If the UFC wants him to fight the top 15, they better start paying him as such.
A fighter who is currently in the lightweight division and not in the rankings as of yet, Paddy has something that no other fighter in his position has, the support of a nation. Paddy is one of the most popular European fighters of his time and this past weekend was an indication of things to come. That bargaining chip will come in handy for the baddy once his initial contract is up. While the UFC is not one to give out massive contracts, especially to fighters that have only had 2 fights thus far, it will be especially hard for them not to meet Paddy’s terms if his star keeps rising like it is.
The amount of swag (even with that bowl haircut) and charisma that Paddy has is also what sets him apart from other British fighters and his competition as a whole. If you look at someone like Tom Aspinall who is ranked #11, won a headliner against #6 Volkov, is on a 5 fight win streak and is also touted as the future of his division, there is minimal marketing or push thrown his way. Of all the British fighters that fought on that card, Paddy is the only one that has begun to make his way into American pop culture. For those that may not know, Paddy has appeared on ultra-popular shows like Barstool, the Pat McCafee show and others. It’s this mainstream appeal that will one day ensure Paddy makes McGregor money.
Now as far as facing the top 15, we will have to wait and see. Paddy engaged in what many consider to be the seed to his next rivalry. At the hotel Paddy and #15 ranked Ilia Topuria engaged in a skirmish that got the attention of the world, while nothing major came from it, the animosity remained even after both fighters got their hands raised the next day. Many hoped and thought this would be the moment that made Paddy want to step up in competition, but instead, he stuck to his original sentiment of being paid first. Who could blame him, why fight the top 15 when you’re barely making prelim worthy money.
While some may consider this move to be full of cowardice, I feel like it is a brilliant move on his part. Like I previously mentioned Paddy has several attributes that no other fighter who is 2-0 has, I’ll take it a step further and say that Paddy has more leverage contract wise than most of the top 15 which many ask for him to fight. Time and time again Dana White has let it be known that the UFC is a business and not a place to have a long career. So the fact that Paddy has recognized this so early on, has allowed him to avoid the mistakes that so many before him have fallen prey to like fighting above your skillset or letting your emotions decide who is next rather than being strategic of where your career goes, Kevin Lee made a great point of this. While we the fans may want him to face the best of the best every time, it is Paddy’s livelihood and career that is on the line, and regardless of him facing a no ranked opponent or the world champ, he will be paid the same (besides winning bonus) until his contract changes.
Pimblett has shaken the Lightweight cage so hard that even fighters above him are lining up to have a crack at the rising star, this mirrors the likes of Sean O’Malley who has garnered the attention of some of the top-ranked fighters in his division who consider themselves better than him. This was a perfectly laid trap that only the best trash talkers are able to lay as this creates a huge amount of rumours and attention from fans and media alike. For now, Paddy seems content to knock off every fighter not in the top 15 and if he’s able to fight out his initial contract with an undefeated record we could very well be seeing a very rich Paddy come to his second contract.