Octagon Oracles: Cage Warriors Veteran Paddy Pimblett

Paddy Pibmlett gets his arm raised in an MMA cage. Cage Warriors veteran Paddy Pimblett will make his long-awaited UFC debut this weekend. Photo Credit: Cage Warriors / UFC Fight Pass

In recent years of Cage Warriors, Paddy Pimblett has been one of the more recognizable names to compete on their roster. This is because of his talent and charisma, but also due to the fact that he has been with the promotion for quite some time. Having fought since 2012, Pimblett has competed 14 times in Cage Warriors.

Pimblett was in no rush to make it to a major promotion. And still only at 26-years-old, he is getting that long-awaited call-up on Saturday. Pimblett’s UFC career will kick off on this weekend when he fights Luigi Vendramini on a “Fight Night” card.

The Octagon Oracles team have their thoughts about Paddy “The Baddy” and his future. Here’s what they have to say:

Tom Albano

Grade: A+
He’s young, he’s quite confident in himself (perhaps some might say cocky) and highly skilled. Paddy Pimblett is one of the most highly anticipated UFC debuts of this generation of prospects.

Many have expected Pimblett to be in the UFC for years now; and in fact, he had turned down competing in the UFC twice to continue to build upon himself in Cage Warriors.

Unlike another fellow European MMA fighter known for his gab, Conor McGregor, Pimblett is more known for his ground work than his striking. In fact, Pimblett is one of the better jiu-jitsu and submission artists when considering the pool of MMA’s top prospects.

He’s slick and quick with his transitions and submissions, scoring several submissions on the regional scene in the process. And if he somehow can’t lock the submission in, “Paddy the Baddy” knows how to ground and pound someone into a TKO victory.

That said, we still need to see how Pimblett holds up in the UFC before his hype train can go into rapid speed. It only starts with Luigi Vendramini on Saturday.

Pimblett may still have some stuff to work on in terms of his striking and wrestling before “next UFC champion” can be added to his outlook; it’s tough enough already that he’s going to be competing at lightweight, one of MMA’s most loaded divisions globally.

But as far as a moniker like “Who to Watch for in 2022” or “Next Big UFC International Star,” who says Pimblett won’t be that after an impressive debut this weekend? In fact, who’s to say he isn’t already with his level of hype?

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Zac Herbison

Grade: B-
Pimblett is fantastic on the ground. He’s a BJJ black belt. He’s aggressive. He’s a good finisher, whether by submission or ground and pound. How he gets to the ground, however, is a surprise every time – seemingly, even to him.

Pimblett has a striking game, and it’s not necessarily a bad one, but I don’t think it’s the right one. He likes to poke from distance with push kicks and low kicks. He’ll even throw in a switch to southpaw to hit his opponent from a different angle. He doesn’t seem to be a fan of blocking, however, relying instead either on backing up, or his iron chin. He has attempted to block punches with his elbows, but not reliably. Strangely, he does show interest in checking leg kicks; along with the elbow blocking, which suggests that he likes defense that punishes his opponent. All of this is somewhat competent, but he’s not going to dominate in the striking, and his striking doesn’t seem to set up his grappling in any way that I can find. In fact, he often ends up on the ground when his striking fails – he’ll get hurt, his opponent will pursue, and in the excitement, they’ll end up in the clinch or Pimblett will duck under a punch. While Pimblett is a great grappler, there’s tons of great grapplers in the UFC, and I can’t expect much until he can build a game around it. He’s young, though, and still growing between fights, so there’s still plenty of time.

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Kristen King

Grade: B
The debut of Paddy ’The Baddy’ Pimblett is here. Of all the fighters we have profiled on this series, Pimblett has generated the most pre-fight hype and there is a good reason for that. The former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) star previously turned down two opportunities to compete in the UFC as he believed he was not quite ready. He is ready now, and he brings with him a fun, exciting style that is sure to translate over to the grand stage.

Pimblett is a phenomenal grappler. He is not only very technical on the ground, but also very creative. Pimblett is aggressive as well, working until he is able to find a submission, which he often does. Pimblett has improved his striking, but some work still needs to be done for that. He keeps his hands low and is somewhat easy to find on the feet, so an opponent that can pressure him will likely find success. I still like what he brings to the Octagon, so I can see Pimblett being around for a long time.

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A Mainstay Through the Years
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Champion