Paddy Pimblett is a hot new prospect in the UFC, but his mixed martial arts career goes back over a decade to when he was a teenager.
The Liverpool fighter was on Food Truck Diaries recently and described which fights from 2009 got him into the sport. He said:
"Vitor Belfort bingo'd Rich Franklin. I went for a run after that at 6AM, 6AM in the UK I went for a run. It was just so sick to watch. A couple of weeks earlier I'd watched Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida in the youth club and I was like 'I need to try this.'"
"My favorite fighter probably to this day is still Big Nog [Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira]. I remember watching him fighting [Bob] Sapp, and he's just getting battered for like fifteen minutes, and then submits him! And I was just like ... wow!"
It didn't take long for Paddy Pimblett to go from watching MMA to training it. He said:
"I got into MMA at fourteen, started training at the age of fifteen. Literally, when I had my first fight I knew that's what I wanted to do. Because I'd done tournaments before that, but as I said, as soon as I done that first fight, amateur fight, and I won it, I was like I know this is what I was meant to do.
I know the date that I walked into the gym: the 20th of January, 2010. Walked into the gym, started training. And fourteen months later had my first fight. And like another fifteen months after that I was turning pro."
Watch the full Food Truck Diaries episode with Paddy Pimblett below:
Pimblett's passion for the Japanese fight promotion PRIDE went beyond his fandom for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He also competed in the same orange and white tights as legend Kazushi Sakuraba for several of his fights.
Will Paddy Pimblett fight when the UFC returns to London on July 23?
The UFC's last London event in March 2022 was a massive success, and a big part of that had to do with the enthusiasm and excitement generated by Paddy Pimblett.
The UFC is clearly interested in having Pimblett on the next London card in late July. Leaked matchmaker boards have Pimblett on a potential line-up, facing the unranked but extremely dangerous Omar Azaitar.
July 23 is quickly approaching, though, and fans have noted that 'The Baddy' is not in fighting shape.
Pimblett infamously blew up to over 200 pounds a week out from the first UFC London, and looks even heavier during his Food Truck Diaries interview. With Pimblett declaring he doesn't need to fight as often due to outside income, he may decide to skip UFC London rather than rush a weight cut back down to 155 pounds.