Sunday MMA Quick Hits: VanZant Makes Pro Wrestling Debut, Pimblett Rips “Mushroom” Dillashaw

Paddy Pimblett, UFC London
Paddy Pimblett, UFC London post-fight Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

AEW witnessed the debut of PVZ last Sunday, while another UFC star who once joined the fun in the pro wrestling promotion has Nate Diaz’s back in his dispute with the UFC. And Paddy Pimblett verbally eviscerated T.J. Dillashaw — that and more in your Sunday MMA Quick Hits. It’s go time!

Paige VanZant Debuts at AEW’s Double or Nothing

While Alistair Overeem stepped into the ring Saturday, fellow former UFC star Paige VanZant beat him by just under a week.

After months of teasing, VanZant made her in-ring debut for AEW, the bonafide #2 wrestling promotion next to WWE. At the company’s Double or Nothing PPV last Sunday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, “PVZ” took part in a six-man mixed tagged match, featuring herself, Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page against Franke Kazarian, Sammy Guevara, and Tai Conti.

VanZant’s fundamentals looked stiff, and the build-up to the match went off the rails through no fault of her own (storyline-wise, fans had no one to cheer for, with everyone in the match save for Kazarian ending up in a “heel” role). Still, she acquitted herself well enough, and the crowd seemed to enjoy her. The fundamentals, like using the ring ropes, will come with time. Arguably, some of VanZant’s bigger moves looked better than her basics, which is not all that surprising at this juncture.

Triple C Backs Diaz in Dispute with UFC

Nate Diaz has been trying to get a fight all year, and appears no closer to getting one.

The younger Diaz brother was lined up for a fight with Dustin Poirier back in March, but contract negotiations apparently stalled that. Since then, talk about a match-up with Khamzat Chimaev resurfaced, then vanished just as quickly. In the interim, Diaz has been vocal on Twitter about his displeasure at being unable to land a fight — and even posted a photo of himself urinating on the UFC PI in a protest of sorts. Or maybe he just really had to go.

Regardless, the Diaz situation boils down to, the UFC wants to extend his deal. Diaz doesn’t. And given it’s the last fight on his deal, many believe the promotion want to feed him to a killer on the way up (see: Chimaev) if he’s not going to stick around. Or, sit him until a potential McGregor trilogy fight can happen. It’s all just speculation, but Diaz not fighting when he wants to fight is an odd sight to see, given how the UFC struggled to get him in the cage for years.

Diaz has a number of backers in this spat — including one Triple C, Henry Cejudo.

“Free Nate, man,” Cejudo said recently on his podcast, The Triple C & Schmo Show. “If you’re not gonna give him a fight, dude, free him. Let him be or he could run out his contract, you know? I think every fighter has a contract where they’re literally able if they don’t get a certain amount of fights per year. Like you could literally run it out, dude, so it’s a trip.”

JDS Due for Shoulder Surgery, Hoping for Early 2023 Return

Junior Dos Santos’ first post-UFC bout, against Yorgan De Castro under the Eagle FC banner last month, ended with an unfortunate shoulder injury. Dos Santos, who had looked good in the fight, dislocated his shoulder early in the third round — and it appears the damage is worse than anticipated.

“Cigano” addressed the setback on social media last week, posting a video on the subject with an accompanying message to fans. “As you guys watched it I dislocated my shoulder on the beginning of the last round of my last fight. So for me to keep fighting I gotta fix it. So let’s do it because I felt great on my last fight and I want much more,” wrote JDS.

Speaking of Injuries… Ryan Hall

Ultimate Fighter 22 winner Ryan Hall has struggled to stay healthy in his years since winning the show. Having missed all of 2017 and all of 2020, Hall actually made it to the cage twice in 2021… but will miss all of 2022, having torn his ACL in training.

Hall, like JDS, announced the news on social media.

Not sure who has my voodoo doll, but if they could stop stabbing it, I would really appreciate that…” Hall began his written statement.

“Had just agreed to a fight on August 13th, but a bit of bad luck in training resulted in a complete tear of my ACL. Started the year really hoping to fight a bunch in 2022, as well as compete at ADCC, but with the recovery being what it is, that won’t be in the cards.”

No word on who he was supposed to fight, but seriously, whoever has that voodoo doll, knock it off already.

Paddy Pimblett Has Words for T.J. Dillashaw

Paddy Pimblett likes to eat — so when he’s not preparing for a fight, he pretty much turns into a happy fat kid. That has drawn criticism from fans (none of whom have ever had to make weight), and fellow fighters — including ex-bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw.

Dillashaw, who once sold a t-shirt poking fun at his own weight issues when out of camp, went on the incredibly poorly named “The Schaub Show” and proclaimed that “If you keep that same work ethic that he has now, he’ll never be a champion.” Dillashaw would go on to add that “You can’t have that down time like that. You can’t get that fat. You can’t get out of shape.”

There might be some fair criticism here— at least as Paddy gets older, those sort of weight swings will get more difficult, and take a harsher toll on the body. That said, should T.J. Dillashaw be criticizing anyone about anything?

Pimblett’s response is exactly what you’d expect from Paddy “the Baddy,” who is no doubt able to verbally eviscerate most of the active UFC roster, and do it in an accent that makes anything he says much cooler than it otherwise would be.

“Don’t forget [your] own past [you] sausage,” wrote Pimblett in response, calling Dillashaw a “cheating little juice head” who would “never have won a belt without them steroids.” He capped it off by calling Dillashaw a “f*cking mushroom.” Well, someone else had already labelled him a snake, so mushroom is at least a new one.

Dillashaw failed multiple drug tests for EPO in 2019, after losing a flyweight title fight against Henry Cejudo. He would then relinquish his bantamweight title before the UFC could strip him of the belt, and sat out a two-year suspension handed down by USADA, in one of the biggest busts since the organization was brought in to handle the UFC’s anti-doping policy.

So You Wanna Be a F’ing Fighter?

Bantamweight Blair “The Wild” West made his pro debut on Saturday at BTC 15 in Burlington, ON, Canada, only to have the fight stopped after the first round. Why? Well that’s pretty obvious. West was willing to continue, and was still all smiles after the fight, posing for the fans and media. Trooper.