Paddy Pimblett has a face that's easily recognisable to UFC fans in the UK right now.
The Liverpudlian is coming off the back of two huge wins with Dana White's company, notching a dramatic KO win over Brazilian fighter Luigi Vendramini in Las Vegas last September. In March, he scored another first-round success, forcing Mexican fighter Rodrigo Vargas into a submission in London.
The charisma of 'The Baddy' has already made himself into a cult hero, and he recently claimed he was back in diet mode after going on 1000 calories a day binges to celebrate beating Vargas. He's also teased a clash with YouTuber Logan Paul, saying if he "ever does want the fight, lad, I’m open to hearing what numbers he’s coming at us with."
Pimblett, 27, didn't jump at his first chance to join the UFC. He twice rejected offers and had 19 MMA bouts before signing on the dotted line, 14 of them coming with the Cage Warriors promotion.
His debut with that company came way back in July 2013, when his career was three fights old. Indeed, a video on the MMAMount YouTube account has a pre-bout interview with the then 18-year-old, and he'a almost unrecognisable to how he looks now.
There's no notorious long hair, but instead a skinhead look, and a baggy white t-shirt offers no hint of the cut, muscular frame he's possessed of late. Asked about his then upcoming clash with Florian Calin, he said: "I can't wait."
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"It's a step up and I've got a better class of opponent, and I can't wait to fight him." And he seemed excited about the prospect of being on Cage Warriors 56.
"Yeah it's great, I just want to get the first win of Cage Warriors and build up from there. I want to be the champ and then one day move on myself."
He duly delivered, taking a unanimous decision against Calin. A little over three years later, and he stopped Johnny Frachey to fulfil his bigger goal, winning the Cage Warriors Featherweight Championship. And sure enough, many are now tipping the star to challenge for a world title in UFC.
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