Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Israel Adesanya respects Paddy Pimblett’s confidence, but he also believes the surging fighter’s skills haven’t matched the level of his trash talk.

The UFC middleweight champion previewed Saturday’s UFC London event, which takes place at the O2 Arena and serves as the promotion’s first card in the U.K. in over two years. Pimblett will face Rodrigo Vargas in a lightweight matchup. Adesanya gave his thoughts on Pimblett before being shown a clip of “The Baddy” saying kind things about Adesanya’s fighting skills, but not being a fan of “the mad stupid dances he does when he comes out.”

Of course, Adesanya wasn’t going to let that slide, while taking a jab at the UFC’s matchmaking for Pimblett.

“He should do that. I dare him to do a f****** whole entrance on the biggest fight of his life,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “I’m not talking this fight — this ain’t the biggest fight of his life. He’s fighting a motherf***** that’s 1-2 [in the UFC]. He’s getting fed a bum. I dare him to try something like that, and then fight, and do what I did.”

Pimblett made a big impact in his octagon debut when he stopped Luigi Vendramini at UFC Vegas 36 this past September. While he liked to see Pimblett make the most of his opportunity, Adesanya feels there shouldn’t be any comparisons between the two.

“He jumped in the UFC, talked that s***, and he walked that s***, too,” Adesanya explained. “I like what he’s doing. I like the haircut, and I like how he’s owning everything and just telling it like it is. He’s speaking his truth. They’re building him up. This is the thing: when I got to the UFC, when I jumped in, I was ready to fight the [most] dangerous people of the division, and they threw me right in there against a grappler who was going to grapple me — at least, that’s what he tried to do. Second fight, I’m fighting block head [Marvin Vettori], third fight, I fight a top-ranked guy, top-10, f***, third fight.

“Look, you can be a hype train but there’s levels. I knew I could jump in the deep end and swim with the sharks right away. I didn’t have the opportunity, like some of the these guys — even [Jon Jones] early on was fighting, not scrubs, but they push you, and once they realize who you are, ‘Oh, OK, let’s push him more.’ Anyway, that’s no shade by the way, that’s just me stating it as it is for myself. I didn’t get to fight a guy who was 1-2.”

Vargas will look to build upon his first octagon victory nearly a year ago at UFC 261 when he defeated Zhu Rong via unanimous decision. “Kazula” dropped a unanimous decision to Alex da Silva in his promotional debut before losing via disqualification to Brok Weaver due to an illegal knee in his sophomore appearance.

While Vargas enters the bout coming off of a win, Adesanya feels like the presence Pimblett brings to the table might be a little too much for him to handle.

“That kind of confidence shakes a lot of dudes, even a lot of veterans,” Adesanya said. “When they’re under the lights, when a guy is creative like Pimblett, or like myself — like [Derek] Brunson at MSG. I created all of that. He was like, ‘Oh f***, s***,’ and he got shook.

“So he can shake a lot of veterans with that confidence, but he’s a bit green so he needs to work on his skills, especially his striking.”

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