It appears to be the end of an era for Cage Warriors.
Paddy Pimblett made his Cage Warriors debut in July 2013. Back then, the buzz cut-sporting 18-year-old looked unidentifiable without his signature Beatle-esque Liverpool haircut. Pimblett pushed his undefeated record to 4-0 that night, and despite suffering his first professional loss three months later, Paddy Pimblett proved he was ready for the big time.
The following year, Pimblett would fight three more times for Cage Warriors going a perfect 3-0. It began to appear as though his first and only loss was a fluke and that the fighter who was submitted in just over 30 seconds by Cameron Else wasn’t the fighter the promotion was showing the world on a consistent basis.
Finishing fights, looking as fluid as any UK fighter has ever looked on the ground, Paddy Pimblett was turning heads fast. Before he knew it, he was 21 years old, 9-1 and on the UFC’s radar.
Pimblett had the bigger picture in mind as he decided to sacrifice a larger bankroll in exchange for further training to ensure he would be around much longer than he felt he might have at 21.
“My favorite moment’s got to be winning the belt,” Pimblett said. “That was just special.”
“The Baddy” has become more than just a staple on the Cage Warriors roster. Picking up right where Dan Hardy and Conor McGregor left off, Pimblett has become the face and the personality of the organization. He’ll never own the record for most title defenses and he never reached double champ status, but there was never a distracted fan while he was fighting.
“I think I had the most fights ever on Cage Warriors,” said Pimblett. “I had 14 fights on Cage Warriors. Not many people stick around that long and have that many fights. I became the main man; the cards weren’t the same without me on them.”
With a high finish rate amongst top-tier competition Pimblett always gave the fans something to scream about. He parlayed his stardom into the world of BJJ, when he competed at Polaris 11 in 2019. From the promotion of the event, to when he walked off, his identity was “Paddy Pimblett, the Cage Warriors fighter” and he never let the fans, promotion, his gym or himself down.
Cage Warriors has always been proud of the flashy featherweight, since his debut at 18 years old, and the sentiment is reciprocated.
“Without the support of the Cage Warriors crew, and obviously Graham (Boylan) the owner, the matchmakers and everyone else behind the scenes, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. It’s that simple and a lot of European fighters are thinking the same thing. It’s a proven breeding ground for top level talent in MMA, it’s that simple. A lot of people talk s*** about Cage Warriors and that rubs me the wrong way. They have the best matchmaker in the world outside of the UFC. Nowhere else has that level of fights, there’s no ‘gimme’ fights on Cage Warriors - every fight is a real fight.”
While it’s difficult to say goodbye to the promotion that shaped him, Pimblett will have Cage Warriors in mind every step of the way from now until his final walk out of an MMA cage. If he’s forever looked at as the ‘Cage Warriors fighter’ he’ll be forever content.
Pimblett leaves with a heavy heart, but assures everybody that Cage Warriors will be in good hands. Dan Hardy, Conor McGregor, Paddy Pimblett. There’s still room for one more face on the Mount Rushmore of Cage Warriors greats and we’re all excited to see who’s next.
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