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Brash Paddy Pimblett promises first-round finish at UFC London: 'I think it's an easy night's work at the office'

Liverpool native promises to deliver another memorable moment at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 208 against Jordan Leavitt.

Paddy Pimblett, known to his fans as "Paddy the Baddy" owns one of the boldest personalities on the UFC roster, and the 27-year-old lightweight isn't planning on toning it down anytime soon.

A staunchly proud Scouser instantly recognizable from his trademark blonde ketwig, Pimblett (18-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has stormed onto the UFC scene, picking up back-to-back first-round stoppages to kick off his octagon tenure. Now he's promising to repeat the trick at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 208 event in London against Jordan Leavitt (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC).

"I think it's an easy night's work at the office to be honest, lad," Pimblett told MMA Underground in his thick Liverpudlian accent. "He doesn't come to win fights. He comes not to lose. He doesn't come to finish. He comes not to lose, and I'm the opposite, lad. I come to finish, and he's getting finished in the first round, to be honest."

Saturday's event, which streams live on ESPN+ (12 p.m. ET) from The O2 Arena, is headlined by top heavyweight contenders Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall. But the buzz around Liverpool's Pimblett is on equal footing with the night's main event.

A former two-division champion for Cage Warriors, one of Europe's top domestic organizations, Pimblett built a cult-like following during his tenure with the promotion. Known for his high-energy arena walkouts, a penchant for finishing fights, and an incredible personality with a microphone in his hands, Pimblett's 2021 debut in the UFC came with much fanfare, and he delivered with a stoppage of Brazil's Luigi Vendramini at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

But the passionate support of his fanbase was more readily on display in March, when the UFC returned to England for the first time in three years. A packed venue of more than 17,000 fans chanted and cheered his every move in what UFC broadcaster John Gooden labeled "a carnival atmosphere."

Pimblett delivered on his end, serving up another first-round stoppage over Mexico's Kazula Vargas, shouldering the massive expectations of the moment seemingly with ease.

"I don't feel nerves, lad," Pimblett said. "I don't know what nerves are. What's the point of being nervous when you know you're going to win? Simple as that.

"I'm a wild man, lad. Wild environments suit me. I thrive on that sort of atmosphere, lad. I absolutely love it, so I can't wait for the same again on Saturday. It's going to be spectacular. I'm going to put on a proper show. It's going to be better than last time, lad. Trust me."

So special was that March evening that UFC president Dana White called an audible on the promotion's schedule and brought the octagon back to London just four months later for Saturday's card, which is expected to again play out before a raucous crowd.

Leavitt boasts slightly more octagon experience than Pimblett, having competed in the promotion four times already and earning three wins along the way. Six of his 10 career victories have come by submission, and "The Monkey King" would seem best served to turn to his rather unique grappling style should he hope to score an upset of Pimblett, who is currently a -275 favorite at SI Sportsbook.

"He's a bit of a weirdo, but no one's more of a weirdo than me," Pimblett cracked. "I mean, I'm the biggest weirdo ever when we get in the cage, and if people are saying, 'Oh, the grappling,' my grappling is much better than his. He wrestled in high school. I'm wrestling with Division I wrestlers in the gym every day. His wrestling's nothing. His jiu-jitsu is snide compared to mine, and his striking, it's like he doesn't have any."

Despite his bold claims, Pimblett certainly has his share of doubters, which is to be expected of any fighter who commands as much of the spotlight as he does so early in his career.

Can he be a future UFC champion? Time will tell as Pimblett makes his way up from his current position to the division's elite at 155 pounds. But Pimblett certainly doesn't lack the self-belief it takes to be successful in the UFC.

"Lad, I've been dealing with it my whole life," Pimblett said. "I'm used to people doubting me and saying, I'm not going to be this, I'm not going to be that, you know what I mean?

"Got told I'd never win an amateur belt. Then I got told I would never fight professional. Then I got told I'd never win a Cage Warriors title, and I got told for years I'll never be in the UFC. When I signed with the UFC, Luigi Vendramini would beat me. Kazula Vargas was going to beat me and steamroll the hype, and what happened, lad? I proved myself right every time, just like I'm going to continue to do so this weekend when I steamroll through Jordan Leavitt in five minutes."

Pimblett's ultimate trajectory remains to be seen, but it certainly seems like a ride worth watching. In a sport that demands entertainment in addition to positive results, Pimblett appears capable of delivering.

"It's going to be another special occasion, lad, and I'm going to rise to it," Pimblett said. "Do not doubt it fella. I promise you now he gets finished in five."

This story first published at SI.com/MMA.