Ilia Topuria rushes Paddy Pimblett, fighters restrained after volatile war of words at UFC 282 press conference

Paddy Pimblett and Ilia Topuria aren’t fighting each other at UFC 282, but you couldn’t tell that by the encounter they shared at the pre-fight press conference on Thursday.

Following an altercation between the fighters at UFC London back in March, Topuria took an opportunity to fire a salvo at Pimblett with both sitting on stage. As Pimblett’s actual opponent Jared Gordon was answering a question, Topuria wasted no time sounding off.

“He just quit when he saw me coming,” Topuria shouted. “When he sees me, he goes for the back doors.”

Pimblett downplayed whatever rivalry might have started after that incident several months ago as he fired back at Topuria, who was sitting on the opposite end of the stage from him.

“He’s obsessed with me,” Pimblett said. “He hasn’t stopped tweeting about me all week. He needs to sort his life out. That little bum’s irrelevant.

“I haven’t seen him all week The UFC have kept us apart. Cause when I saw him last time, he got a hand sanitizer bottle bounced off his [head]. Hand sanitizer boy! You’re known as hand sanitizer boy, you little mongrel.”

Back in London, the lightweights threw punches at each other before security intervened. But as they were separated, Pimblett tossed a bottle of hand sanitizer at Topuria. Pimblett obviously hasn’t forgotten that and used it during his encounter with Topuria on Thursday.

“Shut up,” Topuria yelled back at Pimblett. “F*** you. You want to talk to me man to man, I went to your country, I slapped your face. I walk like a king in your streets.

“Shut up, or I’m going to stand up and crush your face right now.”

That’s when Pimblett invited Topuria to actually confront him on stage. That’s all it took for the undefeated lightweight prospect to get to his feet and make a move toward the 27-year-old fighter from Liverpool, England.

Of course, security was quick to stop Topuria before he could actually reach Pimblett, but that certainly didn’t stop the fighters from continuing to shout at each other.

“Do it, then you little p***** – do something,” Pimblett said. “What’ll you do? You’ll do nothing. Go and sit back down. Sit back down you little p****.”

After cooler heads prevailed, Topuria, who faces Bryce Mitchell in the opening bout on the UFC 282 main card, addressed a potential fight against Pimblett in the future.

“I don’t think he has the balls to face me and close himself in the octagon with me,” Topuria said. “So f*** him. You see, he didn’t give me a response. Why? Because he’s scared of me.”

In response, Pimblett continued to feed into the animosity, though he dismissed any eventual showdown.

“You’re irrelevant to my life,” Pimblett said. “Why would I be scared of you? You’re a midget with little man syndrome. You’re tiny. Why would I be scared of you?”

Given the disdain shared between them, Pimblett and Topuria could make the UFC’s matchmaking job very easy, especially if both are successful in their fights on Saturday.

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