SAN DIEGO – Paddy Pimblett is nowhere close to prepared to accept his next UFC fight.
Despite being nearly three months removed from his most recent bout, a controversial unanimous decision over Jared Gordon at UFC 282, Pimblett (20-3 MMA, 4-0 UFC) has yet to undergo surgery on an ankle injury suffered in the bout.
He said his schedule has kept him from locking in a date to get the operation he needs, but during a recent interview to promote his new ABE All Baddy Everything pre-workout supplement, which is exclusive to The Vitamin Shoppe in the U.S. and launches March 4, Pimblett said surgery is on the books for next week when he returns to his native England.
“I haven’t had surgery yet,” Pimblett told MMA Junkie.” I couldn’t get booked in to the surgery until after I got back from here (in California), so as soon as I get home, I land on (March) 6th and get surgery on the 7th. I’ll be in a boot for a few weeks, but then I’m just looking forward to the back end of the year, and I’ll be able to fight, I think, back fighting at the end of the year.
“I think it was a little bit of wear and tear on it already (before the fight with Gordon). When they looked at it properly they said on the scan there was a bit of cartilage floating about that they need to take out, and I need a ligament reconstruction. So it’s going to be like keyhole surgery. I’ve got to have a boot for four weeks, that’s what I know.”
The fact that Pimblett, 28, has no plans to compete in the near future made him all the more bewildered when rumors recently surfaced on social media about a potential bout with Drew Dober at UFC 288 on May 6. Dober shared a post indicating he’d already agreed to the matchup and was waiting for Pimblett to do the same.
We working on some big things this year. https://t.co/6v6Y5PAPkZ
— Drew Dober (@DrewDober) February 15, 2023
“It’s going around Drew Dober said yeah to fight me on May 6,” Pimblett said. “I’m getting surgery on the 7th of March. I’m not going to be able to spar until after that fight. So you see some mad stuff on the internet, but you get on with it.”
Pimblett is not ruling out or committing to any particular name for his next fight but said it’s far too soon to have any serious discussions. His health is the main priority, and in the meantime the lightweight division will play out. When he’s ready in likely the fourth quarter of the year, Pimblett said he’ll see what the UFC offers him.
“It’s too far away to say, ‘I’ll fight him or I’ll fight him,’” Pimblett said. “Because people are going to fight each other and win and lose in the amount of time it takes me to come back. I don’t know who I’m going to go fight.”