When Dana White was searching all corners of the globe for a fighter to fill his Connor McGregor-shaped hole, not many people would have suspected that Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett would walk so effortlessly into the role.
Over the last decade, UFC has exploded into the mainstream. Despite being a popular combat sport, it didn’t have the same PPV buys as competitors such as boxing. However, McGregor was arguably the first UFC fighter with a huge marquee name and broad crossover appeal.
Not only did it bring in new fans, but it also galvanized existing fans and attracted a new generation to the sport. Sports betting markets also experienced heightened activity, with new customer betting offers on McGregor’s fights as fans tuned in to watch him and detractors tuned in hoping to see him lose.
If you enjoy placing a wager, there are many free offers to take advantage of as entertainment.
Viewing gambling as a source of income or gambling with money you can’t afford to lose are red flags that you are developing a problem. If you have either of these issues, you should log off immediately and discuss the matter with a professional.
As McGregor rose through the ranks with his quick wit, bold attitude, and, most importantly, the skills to back up his talking, he drew people to him. The confident Irishman combined world-class showmanship while flattening high-quality opposition.
This was emphatically showcased when McGregor fought legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather in 2017. Despite being an exhibition fight, it was the second highest grossing boxing PPV.
However, McGregor has since compiled a string of losses and issues outside the Octagon. So, the UFC has begun to explore the possibility of a younger fighter bringing in a new generation of fans.
Who is Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett?
Pimblett was born and raised in Huyton, the birthplace of other famous faces, such as Steven Gerrard. Huyton is just outside of Liverpool, a city in the Northwest of England which has also produced other UFC fighters such as Darren Till and “Meatball” Molly McCann.
As a proud Liverpudlian, Pimblett hopes to fight at the home stadium of his beloved Liverpool Football Club, Anfield. Initially starting off fighting in Cage Warriors promotions, he made his UFC debut in September 2021 with a blistering first-round knockout and performance of the night award.
Pimblett has utilized modern methods of communication to engage with his fans from all over the world. This includes regular podcast features and posting plenty of content on his own YouTube channel, which has swelled to over 800,000 subscribers in the short time it has been active.
Ultimately, these are just a few factors that have endeared him to a new generation of fans. He has also spoken openly about male mental health, attracting positive attention from charities. His political stance has also made him the darling of many working-class fans in England.
Why does Paddy stand out?
Unlike many UFC fighters who are rigid replicas of each other, Paddy has a distinctive look, hairstyle and accent. In addition, he is unashamedly proud of his roots. This has allowed him to break through successfully.
Let’s briefly touch on a point we made in the last section about his social media presence. Connor McGregor recognized the importance of having a strong social media presence in a society that is permanently glued to various social media apps.
Whether it is Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, social media is a far more effective outlet than traditional methods such as newspaper or radio.
Social media companies have billions of users all over the globe who are interconnected through their mobile devices. The ability to rise to the top of this marketing sector can be highly profitable. YouTubers have paved the way and have shown that you can make millions of dollars via the platform.
Paddy has appeared on the channels of other huge YouTubers and plenty of the biggest podcasts, also exploding in popularity.
Identifying which podcasts, channels and content draw the most views is the new way to promote yourself. This applies to anyone looking to make a name for themselves in a range of fields or professions, not just the UFC
As a UFC fighter, there is obvious importance in performing in the Octagon too. However, getting his name out there and having the ability to cross over and have casual fans and even non-UFC fans research him will help turn Paddy Pimblett from a UFC star to a global sports star.
Is Paddy destined to become UFC’s next global star?
Nobody knows what the future holds, and sometimes it can be a case of being careful about what you wish for. Conor McGregor is a UFC legend with multiple belts, huge wins and enough money to last several lifetimes. However, some have commented that his recent actions signal some issues.
Only McGregor can answer that question, and he has talked openly about a comeback in the sport. After suffering such a devastating injury against Dustin Poirier, will he be the same fighter that knocked out Jose Aldo?
Pimblett was involved in a close fight last time out against Jared Gordon. Many people who watched the fight, including plenty of sports journalists who were ringside, had Gordon winning the fight.
A ferocious outburst from Pimblett after the event didn’t do much to win over the doubters who claimed he would struggle against the top fighters in the division.
The lightweight division is arguably the best in the entire UFC. It is brimming with world-class talent, which is evident from the rankings.
Many experts doubt that Pimblett will make a dent at the top end of this division. However, you don’t need to win all your fights and be the pound-for-pound number one to have a huge fanbase.
To become a fan favorite, many UFC fans simply look for exciting fights, engaging personalities and entertaining content.
Having a strong presence on social media is one big factor. Other factors include entertaining press conferences, explosive pre- or post-fight interviews or a combination of these variables.
The one thing the UFC creates is drama and excitement. While Pimblett may be the talk of the town at the moment, dozens of other fighters are itching to get a shot at the big league.
Paddy needs to stay ahead with his huge social media presence and engaging personality to keep new fans flooding in to watch his fights. If he finds himself in a position where people are continually tuning in to his interviews, fights and social media channels, he might become the new face of the UFC.
Some detractors will point to the Gordon fight to highlight that Pimblett might not have the full package as McGregor did. There may be an unpleasant experience on the horizon for Paddy if he goes up against the fiercer opponents in the division.
However, he guarantees excitement, sells tickets and attracts millions of fans who are part of a new generation of UFC enthusiasts. It’ll be an interesting journey for the UFC’s latest star if he continues to grow his channels and sell tickets and PPVs.