Lightweight prospects Paddy Pimblett and Jordan Leavitt have sparred over each other’s UFC résumés ahead of their fight this weekend.
In one of the most notable matchups set for Saturday’s card, which will mark the promotion’s second trip across the pond to England’s capital this year, former Cage Warriors champion and rising star Pimblett will grace the Octagon in front of his home crowd yet again.
Having thrilled fans in attendance at The O2 earlier this year with a first-round submission win against Rodrigo “Kazula” Vargas, “The Baddy” will look for a similar finish when he welcomes Leavitt into hostile territory.
For the first time in his UFC career, Pimblett is entering a fight with some palpable animosity towards his opponent. It’s perhaps a surprise that it’s coming against the twerking and charismatic Leavitt.
The heated buildup this week has derived from some comments “The Monkey God” made following the announcement of the matchup back in May — namely, a suggestion that being booked against the Liverpool native was offensive given his “easy” fights to date.
Leavitt once again shared that sentiment on Wednesday during his pre-fight interaction with the media. With a dismissive tone, the Las Vegas-born lightweight downplayed Pimblett’s pair of victories under the UFC banner.
“He’s just a guy that’s 2-0 in the UFC, and he fought some guys that had losing records in the UFC. There’s plenty of guys on the roster like that,” Leavitt said. “He was kind of getting pieced up (against Luigi Vendramini)… If I separate from the flash, he doesn’t really have momentum. He beat two guys who aren’t even on the roster anymore. So, in terms of my place in the division before and after this fight, it’s absolutely no different.”
With those remarks, Leavitt has somewhat woken the Scouse beast.
Pimblett Turns The Tables On Leavitt’s Strength Of Schedule Criticism
During his own appearance at UFC London media day, Pimblett gave a firm response to Leavitt’s comments, suggesting that his rival was effectively the pot calling the kettle black.
Taking the time to assess Leavitt’s UFC slate, “The Baddy” branded Matt Sayles, who Leavitt defeated via submission last December, a “fat featherweight,” and Trey Ogden, who the Syndicate MMA product outpointed last time out, someone who his ‘dead nan’ could finish.
“He’s been talking all sorts of crazy sh*t, lad. He’s an absolute crab. Can’t throw a punch to save his life and he’s trying to talk sh*t, lad. It’s mad,” Pimblett said. “I can’t believe he’s talking about my opponents. That Trey Ogden lad, me nan’s dead and she’d finish him, know what I mean?
“The kid who he reverse-triangled [Matt Sayles] is a fat featherweight. His ground game’s terrible. He got twistered by Bryce Mitchell — says it all,” Pimblett added. “Matt Wiman should be in an old-age pensioner’s home. He was on The Ultimate Fighter season five. I’d have watched that when I was 15.”
Also in the firing line was in-form former TUF competitor Claudio Puelles. The Peruvian added the one blemish on Leavitt’s record in June 2021, marking the third of his active five-fight win streak.
But Pimblett believes that defeat says a lot about Leavitt’s talents, as he branded Puelles another “crab” who trains out of his back garden.
“He [Leavitt] can’t grapple like me. He thinks he’s a good grappler. He’s training out of one of the biggest gyms in Vegas, Syndicate, and he got beat up by someone who’s training in his back garden in Peru,” Pimblett stated. “That Puelles, another crab who I’d beat in a round.”
Tensions seem high in this one, at least on one side. Leavitt certainly appears less amped up and hostile towards his opponent. We’ll see which side comes out on top in The O2 this Saturday — the “pissed off” Pimblett or the calm and collected Leavitt.
What do you make of Paddy Pimblett’s assessment of Jordan Leavitt’s UFC résumé?