Ilia Topuria believes UFC “protecting” Paddy Pimblett from fight against him: “It’s one of the biggest fights in the UFC”

By Josh Evanoff - December 12, 2022

UFC featherweight contender Ilia Topuria believes Paddy Pimblett is the fight to make. However, he doubts it will happen next.

Both men competed on UFC 282’s pay-per-view event last Saturday night. For his part, ‘El Matador’ opened up the main card with a second-round submission win over Bryce Mitchell. In the co-main event, ‘The Baddy’ won a controversial decision against Jared Gordon.

All in all, it capped off a dramatic week for both men. During the pre-fight press conference, the two did a lot of verbal sparring. Topuria was even held back by security to prevent a fight from breaking out, which was smart. At UFC London earlier this year, the two men almost got into a fight as well.

Despite their trash talk and long-running rivalry, Ilia Topuria and Paddy Pimblett have yet to fight. According to the featherweight contender, they likely won’t fight next. On The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Topuria opined that the promotion was afraid of him fighting Pimblett.

Ilia Topuria

(via Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“I feel like the UFC’s protecting him me,” stated Topuria on The MMA Hour alongside Ariel Helwani. “I don’t know why. In reality, that’s the fight to make right now, because it’s one of the biggest fights in the UFC. We can perfectly sell a pay-per-view. That fight makes more excitement for people than [many] championship fights.”

He continued. “…I know that I’m going to knock him out. I’m way better than him everywhere. So right now, you have a fight against Paddy against who cares, I don’t think people are very excited about watching him fight. Because he talks well, he’s a great promoter, but as a fighter he sucks. Right now, I’m the guy. Everyone wants to watch me fight. You put me against anyone, they’re going to watch.”

“In reality, [UFC] never made an official offer to Paddy to fight against me. I don’t think he’s going to turn down the fight, maybe yes. I don’t know, but the UFC didn’t want the fight, yet.”

What do you make of these comments? Do you want to see the fight? Sound off in the comment section below PENN Nation!


Ilia Topuria Paddy Pimblett UFC