Non-UK MMA fans might not know Paddy Pimblett; at least not yet. But the top British featherweight is determined to change all that and, as he demonstrates in an interview with FO, already has the confidence to rival most – if not all – UFC champions.

Not only does Paddy Pimblett say he’s the number-one featherweight in the UK, he insists he’s the best 145lb’er in the world. “I am a future UFC champion. I am,” insists the Next Generation submission whizz. “But I’m no ‘Scouse Conor McGregor’, as people are saying. He’s the Irish Paddy Pimblett. Because once I get there he’s going to get forgotten about. People will be asking, ‘Conor who?’ when I get into the UFC.”

That’s a huge statement from a 21-year-old who, in his own words, looks like a 12-year-old. Yet ask all but one of his 11 past opponents whether ‘The Baddy’ has got the skills to conquer in the Octagon.

“I’d like to go now,” Pimblett adds. “I watch all UFC events and think, ‘I’d demoralise you.’ I watch UFC featherweights and I wonder how they even got into the UFC. Some of them are a joke. Everyone’s getting excited about Yair Rodriguez, but I watched his fight at UFC 197 against Andre Fili and, believe me, they would both get smoked. I’d annihilate both of them. Fast.”

There are only a handful of names on the Octagon’s 145lb roster that Pimblett has any respect for – its top three fighters in fact. Yet even they aren’t exempt from being called out by the confident youngster. “The McGregors, Aldos, Edgars, that’s it. There’s a lot of dead wood in the UFC. Every weight class is mostly fighters making up the numbers. There are a lot of guys who shouldn’t be there.

“If I got the run McGregor had I would have the same number of bonuses and the same wins as him too. And I include (Chad) Mendes in that statement. Put me in with Mendes now and I’ll beat him. In fact, put me in with McGregor and I’ll beat him too.

“This is the thing, whenever I get matched with anyone, they don’t like it once they’re in there with me. I’m not like anyone they’ve ever trained with in their lives. Everyone gets a shock – nobody fights like me.”

Read the full interview with Paddy Pimblett in the UK June edition of Fighters Only – in stores now!