Paddy Pimblett celebrates after a successful UFC debut in September 2021. | Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Paddy Pimblett may have made a strong statement in the UFC, but “Big John” McCarthy remains unimpressed.

Even before he made his UFC debut in September, there was already a loud buzz behind Paddy Pimblett’s name. And now with two impressive stoppage victories in the Octagon, the 27-year-old is getting a lot more push and recognition from both fans and the UFC’s top brass.

But if you ask other veteran names in the game, Paddy ‘The Baddy’ still has a lot to prove. Former long-time referee John McCarthy, for one, says he saw Pimblett against “better competition” as a Cage Warriors fighter.

“I’m not a Paddy hater,” McCarthy told co-host, Josh Thomson, in a recent episode of their Weighing In podcast. “I love when you have a guy like Paddy who talks the way he does, who has that game…

“He’s — I don’t want to say flamboyant — he is boisterous. He’s out there. He’s gotta push the envelope. And if you want to talk about how great you are, I want to see you against other great fighters so you prove it.

“I just want to see him against better competition. I’ve seen him against better competition in Cage Warriors than I’m seeing him in competition in the UFC. Tell me I’m lying.”

Pimblett fought and finished veteran Kazula Vargas on Saturday at UFC London for his second fight with the organization, for which he won a $50K Performance of the Night bonus. While it was a significant win, McCarthy says the matchmaking itself could’ve been a promotional strategy.

“I understand why they put him against someone like (Kazula) Vargas, an older fighter. He’s got a good record even though he hasn’t really fought that many quality opponents,” he said.

“I totally understand why the UFC put him in the fight that they did. It is their job to create that momentum that when the needle is pushed over to that limit and they can make a pay-per-view around him, they’re going to. And they’re gonna make money, good for them.”

For his part, Pimblett says he won’t fight anyone in the top 15 until the UFC adds “more zeroes” to his contract.

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