Ilia Topuria. UFC protects Paddy Pimblett.


The UFC could do far worse than cut clips from the UFC 282 press conference to promote a fight between Ilia Topuria and Paddy Pimblett. But Topuria is skeptical he’ll face the U.K. star any time soon.

Although the rivals have now been booked on the same fight cards on two occasions, Topuria isn’t sure that’s on purpose. He believes his run-ins with Pimblett may be incidental rather than on purpose.

“Maybe yes, maybe no,” he said Monday on The MMA Hour. But at the same, I feel like he’s being protected by the UFC. I don’t know why. In reality, that’s the fight to make right now, because it’s one of the biggest fights in the UFC. A pay-per view is possible. That fight makes more excitement for people than [many] championship fights.”

Topuria and Pimblett both won another victory at this Saturday’s pay per view. A majority of the MMA crowd would not agree with that statement, arguing Pimblett lost in the co-main to Jared Gordon. Topuria wouldn’t disagree.

“He lost the fight,” Topuria said. They gave him a Christmas present. Everyone [thought] he lost. When I hear 29-28. I think that Jared won the fight. It doesn’t matter. He wins his last fight with a decision – this is the time I’ve spent in my last four fights.”

Topuria sees design in Pimblett’s next steps. While he’s unsure whether or not the UFC had a hand in the UFC 282 co-main’s result, he believes the promotion is going to take full advantage of it for the next UFC event in London, where Pimblett has been a primary driver of ticket sales in two events this year.

” If he loses, it is not the same,” Topuria stated. “He’s coming from a win, and normally, fans don’t watch the whole fight – they watch just highlights. He’ll be able to see highlights from his fight and they will make him look great .”

“Maybe [that the UFC is responsible for the result]. But look, I want to be honest. The guy is good at promoting himself. As a fighter, he sucks. He lacks any skill. He’s so boring to watch. He’s so boring to watch.

Critics cited Pimblett’s press conference to show why they shouldn’t back him. Pimblett called Topuria “mongrel”, and demanded that he learn English in their bickering. Topuria didn’t find the episode to be a major issue – he was already certain about Pimblett.

“He’s already over the line. So right now, what is he saying?, I don’t care,” Topuria stated. “The people think that he’s the best from Europe. I’m from Europe. So let’s fight for the European crown. I know what’s going to happen. He’ll be put to bed in the first round. That’s what everyone knows. They know that [keeping him away] is .”


If Topuria is wrong, he’ll happily accept a fight with Pimblett. But he doesn’t want to go to London without extra concessions.

“If it’s against Paddy, the money’s right – because I have to go in his home and fight against the whole crowd,” he said. It’s difficult to walk into a cage with the entire crowd against you. I would love to make that fight happen in Spain.”

A fight on home soil would of course be Topuria’s dream – and likely Pimblett’s nightmare. Topuria, who is also in the weight division of the U.K.’s star, doesn’t want to be forced into a matchup right away.

“In reality, I would love to focus on my weight class,” Topuria said. I would love to fight Brian Ortega. He never turned down the fight, so now I want my managers to make an offer to his team. We’ll ask him how long he will need to heal from the injury to his shoulder. I think that he’s a warrior and he’s going to accept the fight.”

Topuria would be closer to what every UFC fighter wants: a title. Pimblett’s fight would reward his self-esteem and perhaps his pocketbook. The Spaniard appears more determined to choose the latter. This promotion has the ability to cash in on any grudge it wishes. Championship fights are harder to pin down.

“I know that I’m going to knock him out,” Topuria said. “I’m way better than him everywhere. You have now a fight against Paddy. I don’t believe people get excited about him fighting. Because he talks well, he’s a great promoter, but as a fighter, he sucks. Right now, I’m the guy. Everyone wants to watch me fight. If you put me up against someone, I’m going to be there.

” In reality [the UFC] has never offered to Paddy to take on me. He’s not going to decline the fight, I think. Perhaps yes. I’m not sure, but it was decided that the UFC did not want to fight. I know that one day it’s going to happen.”

Topuria will give up weight if it has to.

” “I’m going to promise you that he will not win against me for more than three or five kilograms,” he stated. “He can come and even not make the weight. I do not care about your weight