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Renato Moicano playing long game for Paddy Pimblett fight: ‘This is chess, not checkers’

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Renato Moicano has Paddy Pimblett right where he wants him.

Coming off of a bloody decision win over Drew Dober this past Saturday at UFC Vegas 85, Moicano appeared on The MMA Hour, where he revealed his long-term plan to set up a fight with the popular Pimblett. The two have already traded words on social media, with Moicano initially suggesting that Dober fight Pimblett next and Pimblett responding in an Instagram comment that he and Moicano should fight instead.

Moicano is definitely interested and he explained why he made a circuitous callout of Pimblett rather than just targeting him immediately after his latest win.

“That’s not the way they work, UFC is protecting him,” Moicano said. “How am I going to call him? This is chess, not checkers. If I go over that, then I’m giving my strategy to you right now.

“Now everybody knows, but if I go over that and I say, ‘Hey, Paddy Pimblett, I’m going to beat you up,’ everybody does that. So I said, OK, I’m going to make him get the bait. Because if I beat Drew Dober and I say Drew Dober will beat you, he’s going to get mad, because he’s going to say, ‘Hey, I can beat you. You beat Drew Dober.’ So at the end of the day, ‘Money’ Moicano is winning again. This is chess, not checkers.”

Moicano’s co-main event fight at UFC Vegas 85 was his first in-cage appearance in 15 months, which was a long time to wait to capitalize on his UFC 281 submission win over Brad Riddell that was capped off by a victory speech in which “Money Moicano” was born. He didn’t miss a beat though, and he has now won two straight fights and four of his past five.

With the UFC returning to Brazil in May, he’d welcome Pimblett to meet him in his home country, but he’s just as happy to head to Pimblett’s native England for a duel with “The Baddy.”

“Then he will have to fight me,” Moicano said. “Because if you go on my page and you say, ‘I will smoke you,’ now UFC cannot protect you because you put your name on the line, my brother. Let me tell you something, if you want to fight in Brazil, I’m ready. But maybe you’re too afraid to go to Brazil, I get it, Brazil is a little bit dangerous. But I can fight you in London, in any place, because you are easy money. I respect you, but I will beat you, so no worries.”

At the moment, Moicano can’t be sure if his plan will come to fruition. Pimblett is currently on the sidelines awaiting the birth of his first child in April. Moicano has also called for a fight with longtime contender Beneil Dariush, who sits higher in the rankings than Pimblett.

No matter who is next, Moicano plans to make plenty of headlines (and cash) when he steps into the octagon again.

“Who knows?” Moicano said. “Maybe the UFC will see value in me saying these things and being myself and maybe, ‘OK, Moicano can fight Paddy Pimblett.’ Or not. Maybe they’ll protect him and will try to find another way to put me in the top 15. It’s not up to me and it doesn’t really matter. If he wants to fight, I’m here, just send the contract. If not, I will keep climbing the rankings, because Moicano is money and the money is at the top.”

“I’m 34 years old,” he continued. “I don’t have much time to wait. I want to be as active as possible and I felt good, but if I did a good performance against Drew Dober, imagine against Paddy Pimblett. That would be amazing and that would be my ticket to the top 10, to top 5 of the division.”

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