Fight fans were less than thrilled to hear that Paddy Pimblett’s return to the Octagon will come against a fighter currently riding a six-fight losing streak.
By the time he steps back into the cage on December 16, it will have been more than a year since Paddy Pimblett competed. UFC 282 saw ‘The Baddy’ score his fourth-straight win under the UFC banner, though it came with a heaping dose of controversy as virtually everyone had Pimblett losing his three-round scrap with Jared ‘Flash’ Gordon at the event.
Suffering a foot injury during the bout, Pimblett has been laid up for all of 2023 thus far, but that didn’t stop him from issuing a challenge to Gordon, suggesting the two fighters could run it back and settle the debate once and for all.
Instead, Paddy Pimblett will return against one of the lightweight division’s most revered fighters, Tony Ferguson. UFC CEO Dana White made the announcement, confirming that the pair will compete as part of the promotion’s still-developing UFC 296 card in December.
Fans were quick to call the UFC’s matchmaking into question considering Pimblett is a highly-touted prospect riding a six-fight win streak while Ferguson finds himself on a six-fight skid.
Some have accused the promotion of putting ‘El Cucuy‘ out to pasture as he works through the last fights on his contract while others question what either man has to gain by fighting one another. If Paddy Pimblett scores another win inside the Octagon, as many believe he will, ‘The Baddy’ will have beaten a man who is a shell of his former self. If Ferguson manages to come out on top, he’s only beaten an unranked prospect. Not to mention the irreparable damage that Pimblett could face by taking an L against Ferguson.
No matter your opinion on Pimblett vs. Ferguson, you can’t deny that UFC 296 is shaping up to be another can’t-miss night of fights. This week, we learned that two UFC title fights will co-headline the card, the biggest being Leon Edwards’ long-awaited welterweight title defense against division gatekeeper Colby Covington. In the co-main event, Alexandre Pantoja will put his newly won flyweight title on the line against a familiar foe in Brandon Royval.
Dana White also revealed that Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson will return this December to take on rising undefeated prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov.
Which fight are you looking forward to seeing at UFC 296 this winter?