Paddy Pimblett’s lightweight forecast for 2022 sees Islam Makhachev plateauing.
While they are both at different stages of their UFC career, Islam Makhachev and Paddy Pimblett are two of the hottest prospects in the UFC at the moment.
With both looking to continue their rise and showing little sign of slowing down anytime soon, Pimblett believes that Makhachev’s rise is about to hit a wall.
When asked who would be the lightweight champion at the end of 2022, Pimblett believed that it would come down to the winner of the Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje fight.
“Whoever wins out of Oliveira-Gaethje because I can’t see Makhachev beating either of them,” said Pimblett on the Believe You Me podcast with Michael Bisping.
One big factor that led Pimblett to believe we would see a halt to Makhachev’s progress was the idea that he’s had limited competition.
“Makhachev hasn’t fought anyone lad. He only fought (Dan) Hooker… I think I’d submit Hooker in the first round.
“He’s a kickboxer, I’d take him down and submit him.”
While Bisping was surprised by Pimblett’s belief, he understood where Pimblett was coming from after thinking about the Hooker fight, saying, “He’s got a little defensive grappling but he’s not a grappler by any stretch of the imagination so that was a good matchup.”
The ever-underrated Beneil Dariush
Pimblett doesn’t just believe that it could be one of the two that would beat Makhachev as he doesn’t even think Makhachev could get past Beneil Dariush.
“I think Dariush beats Makhachev… I think Dariush is very underrated, I think he’s quality.”
— UFC (@ufc) December 20, 2021
While Dariush would appear to be an underrated fighter and has explained himself why this is, Bisping then questioned if it would be between him, Oliveira and Gaethje for the title but Pimblett quickly removed Dariush’s name from the title discussion when it came down to him vs Gaethje or Oliveira.
“It’s Gaethje or Oliveira. I really can’t pick… Gaethje or Oliveira.
“Saying that, I’m going to go with Gaethje, even though I went with Poirier over Oliveira and after watching that fight as well, I’m watching that thinking if Oliveira can do that to you then I can.”
Pimblett always seems to fancy himself against top fighters but admits himself that MMA maths doesn’t actually work out like that.
“MMA maths doesn’t work, like but when you’re watching fights you just think, if you can do that in that position then I can.”