Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Sonnen On McGregor/Pimblett Comparisons: Where Did It Come From?

Chael Sonnen has questioned those who draw comparisons between rising UFC lightweight Paddy Pimblett and former two-division champion Conor McGregor.

Not many have developed the level of attention and hype behind them in just two appearances in the Octagon as Pimblett has. If the Liverpool native’s debut finish of Luigi Vendramini last September made him one to watch, his sophomore outing earlier this month did that and more.

In front of a home crowd, Pimblett faced Kazula Vargas at UFC London. “The Baddy” did justice to his high spot on the card, through both his walkout and submission victory.

Unsurprisingly, the fact Pimblett is a former Cage Warriors champion who arrived in the UFC from across the Atlantic has led many to compare him to McGregor. For Sonnen, a former middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger, that makes no sense.

Sonnen: Are You Sure You Want To Compare Pimblett With McGregor?

During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Sonnen assessed the frequent comparisons between the Irish superstar and the surging Liverpudlian. Questioning where the similarities are, Sonnen suggested any European prospect with an accent and good mic skills now gets compared to the “Notorious” Dubliner.

“Where is that coming from? How did this ever get going? It seems to be as though anybody who’s interesting to listen to and somewhat clever, that also brings an accent to the table, instantly gets compared to Conor McGregor,” said Sonnen. “Paddy’s not the first. There’s been a pretty good handful of people from that side of the world that are good with rhetorical skills, that instantly get compared that they’re gonna be the next Conor McGregor. It seems like a big claim and I’m not seeing how it’s getting made.

“Do you know what you would have to do to be the next Conor McGregor? If Conor McGregor was to never win again, he will go down as one of the greatest to have ever done it,” added Sonnen. “Conor McGregor switched sports to take on the greatest ever in boxing… It has never been done by any other athlete because it can’t be done… I think we do forget, at times, how goddamn good Conor McGregor was.”

Not only does Sonnen struggle to see the fighting similarities, but he also identified one glaring difference between the mindset of McGregor as a prospect and Pimblett’s ongoing strategy.

“Let’s not forget, Conor’s marketing approach from jump street was, ‘Anyone, anywhere, anytime.’ Conor was then called on that,” said Sonnen. “That is an attitude and that is a mindset, make no mistake. There are not many people like that, but that is also the opposite mindset and attitude Paddy has.

Paddy Pimblett
Paddy Pimblett, Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

“I am not putting Paddy down here. I am pointing out the obvious just so that we all don’t get lost. Paddy said, ‘I will not fight the best guys. Not anyone, anytime, anywhere. None of those things. Don’t bring me anybody in the top 15. Don’t ever bring me an opponent that’s got a ranking while I’m under the current contract…’ I’m not putting Paddy down… I’m still searching for anything that has to do with Paddy and Conor intersecting, other than they’re both interesting guys who bring an accent, who are pretty good on a microphone,” concluded Sonnen.

Sonnen’s comment is in reference to remarks Pimblett made prior to his second Octagon outing. “The Baddy” suggested he wouldn’t be interested in fighting ranked opponents while he’s on his current UFC deal. That was also his reasoning behind being relieved an expected bout against Jared Gordon didn’t come to fruition.

Having said he’d require a six-figure deal to face a top-10 lightweight, Pimblett expects to enter the Octagon with three or four more unranked opponents. Nevertheless, if he continues his winning ways, it’s unlikely comparisons with McGregor will dissipate, much to the bemusement of Sonnen.

Do you agree with Chael Sonnen? Are comparisons between Paddy Pimblett and Conor McGregor misguided?

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