Paddy Pimblett described himself as the UFC’s “new cash cow” following a stunning debut in which he delivered on his huge promise in Las Vegas.
The much-hyped Englishman, a former Cage Warriors featherweight champion, registered a first-round TKO victory against Luigi Vendramimi early Sunday at The Apex.
Pimblett, 26, was rocked early with a thunderous left hand by the Brazilian, but recovered brilliantly to unleash a barrage of punches that eventually dropped his opponent. Referee Mark Smith stopped the encounter at 4 minutes and 26 seconds.
Speaking to UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping inside the octagon immediately afterwards, Pimblett said: "I'm here to take over, lad. I'm the new cash cow. I'm the new main man on the UFC roster.
"People are going to be calling me out now. You know who the boy is.”
Pimblett, nicknamed “The Baddy” and drawing comparisons with Conor McGregor, has long been linked with the UFC, even twice turning down contract offers to join the world’s lead mixed martial arts promotion. The Liverpool-born athlete, competing at lightweight, said that he did not feel the time was ready to compete on that stage.
On his impressive bow, Pimblett told reporters afterwards: “It was never going to go wrong. This is my destiny.
“I showed everyone that I can come through adversity as well, because he did catch me with a nice left hook. I need to stop letting people punch me in the face. I want to put on too much of a show, so I just put my hands down and get into firefights with people.
“I can’t help myself. I like fighting. It’s pretty stupid, because it can go wrong. But it didn’t go wrong.”
Pimblett is targeting a second UFC outing before the end of the year, and called on the promotion's president, Dana White, to make him the lead bout in front of a capacity crowd in an arena in England. This weekend’s event, which featured a heavy British presence and was headlined by Darren Till’s submission defeat to Derek Brunson, was initially set for London.
As for who he would like to take on next, Pimblett said: “Luigi Vendramini was the fourth name I got put forward to me for this fight. Every other name I got put to me I said, 'Yeah'. I’ll never say no to a fight. Whatever name gets put to me on the contract, I’m going to sign it.
"I don’t care if they’re ranked or not ranked or where they’re from, or where it is, if it’s in their backyard. If it’s in their backyard, everyone will start going sick when I walk out anyway. That’s just what I do.
“But as Dana said [in his pre-event teaser]... ‘Honourable mention to Paddy the Baddy’. He knows it will be fun going back to England with this kid. November or December, let’s get a show in England, and let’s blow the roof off.
“People think I’m a grappler, and I’ve just shut everyone up. I can strike. I can grapple. I can wrestle. I’ve got the personality. I’ve got the look. The new king’s here.”