Saturday, August 13, 2022

Dan Hardy Names Logical Next Fight For Paddy Pimblett

Former UFC welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy has named a “logical” next fight for rising lightweight star Paddy Pimblett.

At UFC London this past weekend, Pimblett continued his journey towards a level of stardom that he feels is inevitable. Having dispatched Luigi Vendramini on debut last September, the Octagon came across the pond to him earlier this year, with his sophomore outing coming in front of a rowdy London crowd inside The O2.

After a memorable first-round submission victory over Rodrigo Vargas, “The Baddy” returned to England’s capital on Saturday looking to repeat the feat. Whilst Jordan Leavitt did take an extra round to put away, the way in which Pimblett submitted ‘The Monkey God,” who is an incredibly accomplished grappler in his own right, was no doubt impressive enough to represent his best UFC performance to date.

With the result, Pimblett has moved to 3-0 under the UFC banner. But while his Octagon form has been strong, it’s been outside the cage where the Liverpudlian has made the most impression, marking himself as one of the fastest-rising stars in the promotion.

Although that could perhaps lend itself to a quicker ascension up the lightweight ladder, Pimblett’s compatriot Dan Hardy thinks that the UFC needs to be realistic with his level of competition.

During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, “The Outlaw” dismissed the notion that Pimblett should be accelerated into a matchup against a name like Dan Hooker next time out.

“I don’t think he’s ready for a step up. I mean, someone like Dan Hooker, that’s a big step up. You’ve gotta think of some the killers he’s been in there with,” Hardy said. “Paddy, yes, he’s got three big wins already in the UFC — big because of the way they hit (and) resonated with the fans. Not big because they were perfect or against potential world-beaters.”

With that in mind, Hardy believes he’s identified an appropriate fourth opponent for Pimblett’s blossoming UFC career.

Hardy Pitches Another UFC London Victor For Pimblett

While Next Generation MMA’s Pimblett and Molly McCann stole the show once again, taking over London for the second time this year, a number of others delivered standout performances inside The O2.

That includes Ľudovít Klein, who secured an upset victory over Welsh prospect Mason Jones during the prelims. With it, the Slovak lightweight made it back-to-back wins since a 1-2 start in the UFC.

According to Hardy, Klein would represent a “logical” next opponent for Pimblett.

“He’s (Pimblett) fighting the right level of opposition for the level that he’s at,” Hardy said. “I mean, I think if you wanna step him up, you had Ľudovít Klein that picked up a win over Mason Jones (earlier) in the card. That would be a logical step up. He’s gonna fight someone that’s a tough, durable European fighter that’s gonna be able to push him in the grappling range, as well as striking.

“Something like that would be a logical step. We don’t need to be giving him one of the star names right now. Just because he’s a developing star, it doesn’t mean he’s at the technical level yet to start taking on those big challengers. I still think there’s a bit of growth left in his game,” Hardy continued. “Maybe another 12 months, three more wins, and then we start to look at him fighting those recognizable names.”

Following his latest victory, Pimblett assured fans that he’ll return to the cage by the end of the year. And after claiming that it’s pay-per-view or Anfield appearances from here on out, he’s targeting a Las Vegas appearance should the promotion return to the T-Mobile Arena in December.

If offered the chance to face Pimblett on the PPV stage, it seems likely Klein would accept the chance to steal the Liverpudlian’s hype with open arms.

How do you think a fight between Paddy Pimblett and Ľudovít Klein would play out?

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