Ahead of UFC London, Paddy Pimblett recalls his title-fight loss in Cage Warriors and what he learned from it.
A loss can be devastating, especially to the most prominent fighters in the game. A slew of athletes have risen to the top and then came toppling down once they meet their first challenge.
And as it seems, Pimblett is no different. Before his loss to Soren Bak at the Cage Warriors 96 main event for the vacant lightweight title, Pimblett was back in the winner’s circle.
Pimblett defeated Alex Savvdis with an impressive flying triangle choke in the second round at CW90. Having won the featherweight title before, his towering confidence then skyrocketed, assuring himself he’d win his next match.
The fight against Bak took place that same year in 2018. The unanimous decision was given to Pimblett’s opponent, and that loss had an awakening effect on him.
Here’s what he said in an interview with BT Sport:
“Back then, I used to just take everything for granted. As you do when you’re a kid. Take everything for granted and don’t think about your future. After I lost the lightweight title fight in Cage Warriors, I hit a deep depression and realized what I needed to do with myself. I had crazy thoughts going through my head. I had bad mental health issues for a good couple of months. It took realizing who my real mates were, getting close friends back close, keeping the Mrs. close, obviously, everyone in the family.”
Typically, when a fighter carries immense hype surrounding their name, losing comes with substantial consequences. Friends and family may feel differently and be prepared for the trolls of social media to have a field day.
The knockout king Derrick Lewis knows the experience firsthand since losing twice in his hometown, as can Ronda Rousey, who admitted to being suicidal after her first MMA loss.
Indeed, it can all come crashing down. But sometimes that is what someone needs to dig themselves out of toxic habits or to realize their true gifts in life.
“(I had to) realize what I’ve go,” Pimblett continued. “I was thinking to myself, ‘My mates are working on a roof, or doing joinery or bricklaying, and I’ve got this opportunity in front of me, and I’ve thrown it away by going out partying all the time, and not listening to my coaches.’ I had a mad realization. I just switched on. Ever since, Paul (Reed) and everyone here will tell you, I’m a much easier person to work with and I’m a much nicer character.”
Pimblett has certainly come back better since the loss. In 2020 he returned to the cage and decimated his next three opponents inside the first round.
This Saturday, he faces Kazula Vargas at UFC Fight Night 204 in London to try to increase his three-fight win streak.
What are your thoughts on Paddy Pimblett’s reflection on his Cage Warriors title loss?