Paddy Pimblett: The Most Overrated Fighter in the UFC
Paddy Pimblett is one of the biggest stars in the UFC.
That is not an exaggeration. No, he is not a champion. No, he is not ranked. Still, more people know the name “Paddy the Baddy” than most names on the UFC roster. I guess that should not come as a surprise, though. After all, he is an entertaining fighter, good on the mic, and is sponsored by Barstool Sports.
The issue with Pimblett is not one of the best fighters in the sport. I mean, he is not even one of the best in his division. So, before you buy the Pimblett hype, make sure to consider this warning.
Paddy Pimblett’s Strengths
Listen, I do not think Pimblett is bad. I just do not think he is elite. Before we get to the negatives, let’s touch on the positives because it would be ignorant to ignore them.
Most importantly, Pimblett has tremendous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He can be creative and find unorthodox submissions or he can focus on more traditional submissions like guillotines and rear-naked chokes. In addition, he is great are taking the back which helps him finish fights.
The most unique aspect of Pimblett’s skillset is his finishing ability, this was something that really stood out against Jordan Leavitt. In my opinion, this is the most impressive thing about Pimblett. He has finishing instincts that cannot be taught.
Lastly, on the feet, Pimblett has solid kicks. He throws good roundhouse kicks to the body kicks, teeps, and mixes in leg and head kicks. This all works to deal damage and help him control range. Plus, despite his flawed technique, Pimblett does throw powerful punches.
Paddy Pimblett’s Weaknesses
After all those compliments, you are likely confused about why I do not view Pimblett as an elite fighter.
The main reason is his striking defense. I do not like to see a fighter that depends on his chin to overcome flaws in skill and that is exactly what Pimblett does. He was hit hard and was hurt badly against Rodrigo Vargus and Luigi Vendramini, who are both 1-3 in the UFC. At a minimum, getting hit like that will result in falling behind on the judges’ scorecards. At a maximum, he will eventually take a shot that his chin cannot absorb.
One aspect of Pimblett’s poor defense is that he relies on power to be effective with his punches. In turn, it leaves him open to being hit with counterstrikes as skilled strikers can see his punches coming. This is largely a result of Pimblett’s raw and unrefined offensive skillset.
A smaller but also concerning issue is that Pimblett does not defend leg kicks well. That could cause serious issues one day.
Earlier we established that Pimblett has good BJJ. That does not mean he does not have grappling flaws, though.
The biggest issue with Pimblett’s grappling is that he pairs his BJJ with Judo. Now, Judo is not a terrible skill to have. It can be useful in certain positions; however, I do not like how much he depends on Judo. For the most part, Judo is Pimblett’s go-to method when he needs a takedown.
Since he is a fighter that depends on his grappling, I would love to see him supplement his BJJ with strong wrestling takedowns. Aljamain Sterling is a great example of a fighter that has been able to mix wrestling takedowns with BJJ and things have worked out well for him. I would be far more confident in Pimblett’s overall skillset if he followed a similar path.
The Lightweight Division
In addition to his flawed skillset, I struggle to see Pimblett finding success at the top level of MMA because he is a lightweight. The division is one of the best in the sport — not only is it filled with tremendous fighters, but it is remarkably deep.
For people that think Pimblett will be a future champion, do you think he beats Islam Makhachev? I have a very hard time seeing Pimblett accomplish that feat. That may seem like I am holding him to a high standard, but I am not the one saying he will become a champion. If he wants to be the champion, that is who he needs to beat.
Furthermore, I have a very difficult time seeing Pimblett beat the majority of the fighters in the lightweight rankings. For example, he would lose to Dustin Poirier. If you want to look further down in the division, does he beat the elite up-and-comers like Rafael Fiziev, Mateusz Gamot, Arman Tsarukyan, or Jalin Turner? Once again, I would have to say no. Those fighters are all dynamic fighters with fewer flaws.
Before you load up the UFC rankings in an attempt to prove me wrong, I will acknowledge that Pimblett can beat No. 15-ranked Tony Ferguson. Although, is that saying anything? Ferguson is clearly way out of his prime.
If you want to get really crazy, I could find unranked fighters that could beat Pimblett. I’d take Guram Kutateladze, Grant Dawson, and a few others over him.
Paddy Pimblett’s Future
Pimblett’s next fight will come against Jared Gordon at UFC 282. Before we get ahead of ourselves, I do not think Gordon will be the one to expose Pimblett. There is a good chance that Pimblett wins that fight by submission. I will not go in-depth about why Pimblett will have an advantage in that fight, at least not right now — you will have to read Vendetta’s UFC 282 preview for that information.
I do not know when Pimblett will be beaten. This is because the UFC could give him layups for the next year or so. For comparison, look at who Sean O’Malley fought prior to his fight with Petr Yan. All of those fights were stylistic dreams. I would not be surprised to see Pimblett get similar treatment.
At the same time, Pimblett’s friend and training partner Molly McCann was booked against Erin Blanchfield at UFC UFC 281. That is the hardest opponent McCann could have been given at the time. As a result, the UFC was able to help grow a younger prospect with a higher ceiling off McCann’s name. Only time will tell if the UFC opts to book Pimblett like O’Malley or McCann.
I hope you now understand why Pimblett is the most overrated fighter in the UFC. I expect that to be a more popular opinion at some point.
With that being said, I hope I am wrong. I know that sounds strange, but Pimblett’s star power has the potential to help grow the sport. At the end of the day, that is more important than anything. Still, when I watch Pimblett fight I struggle to see a future champion or potential title contender.
You were wrong about Gordon!