One contributing factor to Pimblett’s rapid rise to fame over the past few years was his signature hairstyle, a floppy blonde do that evoked images of his hometown of Liverpool, England, and its most famous export, The Beatles. On Saturday for his fight with Tony Ferguson, Pimblett rocked cornrows en route to a unanimous decision win over the former interim lightweight champion.
At the evening’s post-fight press conference, Pimblett explained the dramatic switch-up.
“It’s quite funny, because whenever I used to play Fight Night or the UFC game or anything like that, I’d always put cornrows on my character,” Pimblett said. “But the reason I’ve done it was because I’m sick of getting hit with little punches and left hooks and stuff like that and people would be, ‘He’s rocked! He’s rocked!’ Like, nah, my hair just moved. I’m not rocked at all.
“I think it was a little bit of a tactical one as well because also my hair goes in my eyes and I’ve got to lift my chin up and I think I’ve done a little bit of a better job keeping my chin down tonight with the cornrows.”
Whether it was the new look, his growth as a fighter, or Ferguson’s diminishing skills, Pimblett was impressive at UFC 296 as he improved to 5-0 inside the octagon. Pimblett’s grappling skills proved to be too much for the experienced Ferguson, who was unable to muster much offense with Pimblett controlling him on the ground.
Some of the improvements Pimblett attributed to a greater focus on fitness.
“I don’t ever want to hit 210 pounds [between fights] again, put it that way,” Pimblett said. “After I beat [Jordan] Leavitt and [Kazula] Vargas, I went a bit wild in America. I think at one point I got in the scales in America, it was 211. This time, I’m not going about 185, 190. My coaches are probably standing at the back there laughing, shaking their heads like, ‘I bet you he does.’ But I’m going to do my best not to balloon up.”
Recovered from recent injury and coming off of the most high-profile win of his career, Pimblett is poised to keep the spotlight shining on him in 2024. However, he noted that fans may have to wait until summertime to see him compete again as he has ruled out fighting at UFC 300 in April due to a milestone event in his life.
“I wanted to fight on UFC 300,” Pimblett said. “If it would have been announced for the first weekend of April, like the 6th of April, I may have fought on it, but the wife’s due between the 12th and the 17th of April so I’m not missing the birth of my first kid. It’s not happening. So I can’t do that on the 13th.
“I’ve heard there’s a show in Manchester in July, rumors of it. So that could be me. It’s only 30 minutes from my house.”