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UFC lightweight Jared Gordon will be aiming to get back in the win column when he faces Bobby Green at UFC Fight Night 222 on 22 April.
‘Flash’ is coming off a decision loss to up-and-coming British star Paddy Pimblett at UFC 282 in December, a fight which many believed the New York native should have won.
In the time since then, a rivalry of sorts has begun to form between the two fighters, with Pimblett calling Gordon out in a video from his hospital bed after he underwent ankle surgery.
Gordon has now responded to that video, firing back at Pimblett and claiming he has got under the skin of the Liverpool fighter.
“He sent the video because I’m crawling around in his head all day,” Gordon says. “You got guys like Joe Rogan, Michael Bisping, Bruce Buffer, Nate Diaz, they all said you lost. It would be in my head also. It’s been months but it has not gone away yet. I know I’m on his mind.
“I thought it was pretty comical. You’re in your hospital bed talking about Jared Gordon. You just had surgery and my name is coming out of your mouth, which tells me I am living in your head. If you really thought you had won the fight you would have commented one or two times and you would have let it go, but you are still talking about me.
“You are recovering from an injury and you are still talking crap about me and saying you want to run it back. I think it’s funny that you are in your hospital bed and recovery room talking about me.”
Gordon believes there is only one real reason why Pimblett continues to talk about him and a potential rematch – because he knows he lost the fight.
“A winner, or someone who thinks they won, is not going to be wanting a rematch,” he says. “There are numerous reasons why he wants to do a rematch. The biggest one is that he thinks he didn’t win that fight, but he’s not going to admit that. Why would he?”
The 25-fight veteran is not shying away from a rematch, even if it was to take place in Pimblett’s hometown.
“The more you talk about me, the more relevant I am, the better for me. Keep it going. I hope you get better and I hope we get that rematch. I would love to go to Liverpool or the O2 and fight him.
“My grandfather and grandmother grew up in London. My grandfather fought in World War II. My uncle went to Oxford for years and fought for the British Army. It’s home for me. I’m a second generation Brit. I’d love to go home.
“People are still questioning him because everyone keeps talking about it. I keep getting DMs from people from Liverpool almost every day, saying: ‘Hey, greetings from Liverpool, you beat Paddy, can’t wait for you to fight again’.
“I would love to go over there and fight him again. I think it would be an amazing experience. It would be fun and I think I could finally put it all to rest. Why not Anfield? I think it would be an epic moment in time for me and Paddy.
“Once I get past Bobby, maybe I’ll get ranked and then the fight with Paddy becomes intriguing, not just two guys fighting a rematch. If I’m ranked, then maybe we have a reason to do the rematch even more as the UFC want to see him climb obviously and it’s a great storyline.”
Getting past Green is no given, though, and Gordon is fully focused on returning to winning ways at the UFC Apex.
“You, me, and the rest of the world knows I won that fight. But why are you still talking about it? I have a big fight coming up. A tougher fight than Paddy in April.
“So, I’m focused on that. But when I get through that, I would love to fight Paddy if it makes sense for me at that point. When I beat Bobby Green, does it make sense to go back and fight Paddy, who is not ranked? Maybe I’ll be ranked after that.
“If they give me some big opportunity, like a big event in Liverpool. He could sell out Liverpool and we could main event there, but it would have to be really worth it for me.”
Should Gordon get through his fight against Green and move up the rankings while Pimblett is still making his way back from injury, he has no interest in waiting around for a rematch.
“I still want that fight back – maybe they want to give him a warm up fight because I’ll be fighting whilst he is recovering – but I’m not going to wait for him,” says Gordon.
“I’m fighting in less than a month and I don’t want to wait eight months for him to come back. I want to fight soon after that. Say I rack up two wins by the time that he’s back. Am I going to go back and fight him? It has to really, really make sense for me at that point.”
Looking back at his fight against Pimblett, Gordon is keen to correct some the claims made by his opponent in the aftermath.
“It’s funny because he says that he threw a kick at me and I checked it incorrectly and he hurt his ankle,” he explains. “In the first round, I kicked his left leg and he stepped back because of it and rolled his right ankle. The consequences were because of my kick. He is saying that he kicked me a couple times and that’s probably adding to it, but I know I hurt you.
“I had a grade two sprain in my right ankle during my Grant Dawson fight last April. It took me about four or five months to recover. I fought Leo Santos and I banged it up in that fight. But it was alright, then going into the Paddy fight I re-sprained it at the beginning of camp.”
“I couldn’t even jump from one foot going into the Paddy fight. But I kicked it a few times and after our fight I was walking on crutches for a month. We both had bad ankles coincidentally, but no one goes into a fight 100 per cent.
“When he says, ‘I beat you on my worst day’ I wasn’t on my best day in that fight and I still blatantly won”
Gordon has also questioned Pimblett’s decision to delay surgery on his ankle, with the procedure not taking place until three months after the fight.
“He had an injured ankle and waited three months to have surgery, why?” he says. “If I’m injured I’m trying to square that straight away as soon as possible.
“I know he went on vacation and had media obligations. It’s weird because he was kicking pads in Thailand then he had surgery a month later. Maybe he didn’t want surgery in America. Whatever works, I just hope it works out.”
Among his many claims since his UFC debut, Pimblett has said that a potential fight between him and Conor McGregor would be the biggest PPV fight the UFC has ever seen. If that fight were to happen, Gordon has no doubt who would win.
“Conor is a completely different person. His body has completely changed. He hasn’t fought in who knows how long,” he says.
“He was savage at 145lbs – then he moved to lightweight and he had one win in 2016. He won at 170lbs and he fought Donald Cerrone who was on his way out. Then he went back down and fought Dustin and looked at what happened there. He got knocked out and then got his leg broken.
“I can see him looking really rusty and not the same at all when he returns, especially when you are a multi-millionaire, things change for you. I would watch that for sure.
“On the feet, I’d have to give it to Conor. If it goes to the ground, Paddy is a grappler, Conor not so much. I think Conor’s take down defense is underrated, off his back and on top I don’t think he is a specialist, whereas Paddy has excelled in those areas.
“But looking at the level of competition, Conor has been fighting at the top and Paddy has been fighting the level of competition down here. I’m going Conor to beat Paddy because he’s used to being in the spotlight, he knows what it’s like to be there at that high level.”
Ultimately, Gordon’s first fight against Pimblett will always be a loss on his record, but the upward trajectory of his career since means he has no regrets.
“I’ve gotten way more popular in defeat to Paddy. I think everything happens for a reason,” he says. “When this first happened, back in the hotel, I was pissed, I was throwing shit. I didn’t want to see anyone, none of my friends or family that were over there.
“Then, as the weeks went on, my following skyrocketed and we’re still talking about it. The UFC treated that fight as if I had won and gave me an established veteran, a higher-ranked guy. So it’s like coming off a win but I just didn’t get my other paycheck.”