In December, Jared Gordon took on the highest profile challenge of his UFC career against Liverpool superstar Paddy Pimblett.
On the feet, the bout was as close as it gets, ending with both fighters nearly landing the exact same number of strikes. On the mat, Gordon secured three takedowns and accumulated six minutes of control time. At the end of what was an exceptionally close fight, Pimblett left smiling with his hand raised while Gordon was bewildered over the judges’ decision.
Gordon’s open to a rematch down the line, but believes he has a bigger challenge ahead of him in Bobby Green at UFC Fight Night: Pavlovich vs Blaydes this Saturday, so a second fight with Pimblett would be a step in the wrong direction.
“I mean, I know I won,” Gordon said regarding his bout with Pimblett. “Weird situation. I’m so sick of talking about it but people are still talking about it. He’s calling me out from his hospital bed talking about it still because I’m on his mind and because he knows what really happened. It just tells me that he hasn’t moved on and he knows the deal. I’m living in his head rent-free.
After I beat Bobby, I feel like going to [fight] Paddy is going backwards. If it was some big opportunity like a [co-main] or main event spot down the line, then maybe. Once I get past this on Saturday, I’m risking fighting Paddy again. It would put me in a really big spotlight, and I think some people want to see it, I feel like other people don’t want to see it. I don’t think it’s worthy of a main event spot right now or anything like that, so I think he’d have to come back, get a win and prove that he’s a game opponent again.”
Once the dust settled after their clash at UFC 282: Blachowicz vs Ankalaev, “Flash” got back to training with his attention set on Green. With four weeks left of camp, Gordon took a two-day break from training and flew from his current residence in Florida to Los Angeles, California, to compete during the filming of a couple’s edition of American Ninja Warrior.
Initially not wanting to take part in it, considering it took place in the middle of his most important eight weeks of the year thus far, Gordon eventually agreed and used it as a break from his non-stop training sessions to reset his body and mind ahead of his final preparations for Green.
“Me and my wife were on the couple’s edition of American Ninja Warrior a couple weeks ago,” Gordon said. “It was pretty crazy. She did great, I didn’t do so well. Harder than fighting. Super hard. The girls and guys are animals; so strong, so athletic. It was a great experience.
“I never watched it, but my wife was on the show three times before we got on together. I only started watching it and getting into it when I got back with my wife who I’ve known since first grade. We broke up, got back together and she was in the sport, so when we got back together, I started learning about it. I never thought I’d compete in it, but then she was like, ‘Let’s apply together,’ and I was like, ‘No, it’s in the middle of my fight camp.’ We went to LA three [or] four weeks ago. We were there for two days, so we were in and out and it was a lot of fun. It kind of broke up camp for me so it was good, I think.”
Once “Flash” returned home, it was a seamless final four weeks of training to get ready for one of his toughest oppositions to date in Green. Challenging some of the best fighters the promotion has to offer, including the likes of Dustin Poirier, Islam Makhachev and Rafael Fiziev, Green’s experience is second to none. Pair that with his exceptional boxing and boisterous in-cage personality, and you know fans will always be in for a treat when he steps in the Octagon, and that’s exactly what Gordon anticipates on Saturday.
While acknowledging many different areas in which Green excels, the one where Gordon thinks he can “expose” him this weekend is in the grappling department. But don’t expect wrestling from horn to horn; Gordon wants to show that he’s a complete mixed martial artist and go stride for stride with Green wherever the fight takes place.
“Can’t stand in front of Bobby,” Gordon said. “Can’t let him get his rhythm; once he gets a rhythm on people he does really well. Great boxer; great with his hands. He’s also a great wrestler and he mixes it up. He’s a veteran of the sport; he’s fought everyone. He’s got a lot of great wins over great opponents. Tough opponent to train for; his style is very unique. Just got to mix it up as best I can and not stand in front of him and be flat footed. I got to really just show up and perform and I’ll get the W.
“Bobby’s fun; he talks crap to you while he’s in the cage, he’s pointing at you making comments and that’s awesome. It could be Fight of the Night potential with a guy like Bobby. I’m expecting fireworks, blood, and I think our styles match well together. I bring it, he brings it and I think it’s going to be fun for the fans.”
Trying to get accustomed to the Las Vegas and fight week climate early, Gordon booked his flights this past Sunday to give himself six full days in the city. But as all frequent travelers know, flying almost never goes to plan and Gordon endured a nightmarish 24 hours in and out of the airport until eventually arriving Monday evening.
“I was trying to get here early; we left on Sunday from my house,” Gordon said. “We get to the airport Sunday afternoon [and] we didn’t take off until the next day at 4:00pm. We went to the airport, waited forever, got on the plane, then they made us get off, [so] we got a hotel room. We were supposed to leave at 6:00am so we got up at 4:00am, we went downstairs to get into the Uber to get to the airport and they delayed it until 1:00pm. So we went back in the room, back to sleep, I was able to get in a workout at the hotel, then we left, got to the airport at 12:00pm, got on the plane at 1:00pm, sat until 4:00pm on the tarmac, then finally took off and got here.
“I’m fine. I still got here early; I got here Monday, usually they fly us in on Tuesday. Still ahead of schedule, just a bump in the road. It made for a good story and it’s just memories at this point.”
UFC Fight Night: Pavlovich vs Blaydes took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on April 22, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!