UFC lightweight Jordan Leavitt is certainly not letting the pressure of heading to opponent Paddy Pimblett’s home country get to him.
Leavitt is one of eight Americans who have safely made it across the pond for this weekend’s UFC London card. His assignment will come against arguably the fastest-rising name when it comes to MMA prominence in the promotion: Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett.
The former Cage Warriors champion has exploded on the scene since making his debut last September. From his lucrative deal with Barstool Sports to his pair of first-round finishes under the UFC banner, Pimblett has begun to realize a level of stardom that he’s long predicted.
While his next step to the top will require adding the second blemish to Leavitt’s record, “The Monkey God” is looking to stall the Liverpool native’s surge, and perhaps steal Pimblett’s hype for himself.
On paper, any Pimblett fight is a notable one nowadays. That’s without even considering the fact he’s gearing up for a return to London’s The O2, where he had the crowd on its feet for his walkout and quick submission win earlier this year.
But Leavitt has consistently played down the magnitude of the matchup — at least when it comes to actual fighting.
During his appearance at UFC London media day on Wednesday, Leavitt portrayed a figure who appeared to see the flight to London and the extra eyeballs on his fifth UFC outing as a hindrance. In fact, “The Monkey King” isn’t even particularly interested in the matchup itself.
“I feel like if you separate all the flash from this fight, it’s not very interesting at all,” Leavitt said. “I don’t follow him on social media, and I didn’t really know about Paddy until his debut. So, I don’t think I’m gonna be starstruck. I don’t really see him as a star. 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.
“I’m just gonna try and separate this fight from the flash. You know, on paper, I’m not too interested in this matchup, to be honest,” Leavitt added.
Leavitt: Pimblett Doesn’t Offer A New Challenge
When asked for the reasoning behind that attitude following the surprising revelation, Leavitt suggested that Pimblett’s game offers nothing that he hasn’t faced before, both in fights and during training.
“I kinda fought a grappler last fight, and they lead to boring fights,” Leavitt said. “I think I’m a little too smart to make a lot of the mistakes his opponents have made. If I take him down, I’m not letting him up. If I hurt him, I’m not gonna let off the pressure.
“And he’s not the most accurate striker. He has one real knockout, and he’s a regional champ, and I’ve fought all those things before. So… No, I’m not impressed with a lot of things,” Leavitt continued. “I’ve sparred champions, I’ve sparred with title contenders, and I’ve seen everything.”
While Leavitt looks to be anticipating a less than memorable grappling affair on Saturday, Pimblett has repeatedly promised to knock his fellow lightweight prospect out in one round, citing some past remarks from Leavitt as motivation to “batter” him.
Whether it’s a grappling display or a highlight-reel knockout, we’re bound to have something memorable action post-fight — be it some twerking from a victorious Leavitt or another raucous British reaction to a Pimblett triumph.
Who do you see having their hand raised at UFC London, Jordan Leavitt or Paddy Pimblett?