Paddy Pimblett was full of praise for Tom Aspinall after his “unbelievable” stoppage win against Sergei Pavlovich to claim the UFC heavyweight title.
The 30-year-old landed two quick left-right combinations to finish the Russian inside 69 seconds in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden.
He becomes only the third British UFC title holder in history, after Michael Bisping (middleweight) and Leon Edwards (welterweight).
The interim title fight was a late addition to the card after Jon Jones tore a pectoral tendon off the bone during training late last month. He needed surgery, and his heavyweight title defence against Stipe Miocic at the Garden was called off.
For Pimblett, Aspinall “stepped up” and showed why he is a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight category.
“He looked absolutely unbelievable,” Pimblett told Sky Sports.
“He really stepped up to the plate and made it.
“Two weeks notice to come in and knockout fighters like Pavlovich like that in a minute and 10 seconds, unbelievable.
“I said Tom was going to win but I will be honest, I thought it was going to take a round for him to submit him.
“Tom is just too fast for these heavyweights. Heavyweights don’t move that fast, he was like a middleweight.”
With Aspinall recording such an incredible win, many are calling for him to now fight Jones.
However, Pimblett believes that would be an even tougher challenge for the Wigan-born star.
“For me, Jon Jones is the GOAT but if anyone can give him a fight, it is Tom Aspinall,” Pimblett said.
“He has got the speed, he has got the jujitsu, he has got the power but I don’t think Jones will fight him.”
Pimblett opens up about mental health: The last year has been tough
Pimblett also opened up on the struggles he has faced in the past year after beating Jared Gordon by a unanimous decision at UFC 282 which was touted by many as a controversial decision, attacks on social media only making his recovery from an ankle injury he suffered more difficult.
Now, he is set to return to action against Tony Ferguson at UFC 296 in Las Vegas in December and is ready to prove why he is a dominant force in the sport once again.
“In this sport we only get judged on our last performance,” he added.
“It doesn’t matter that my first three UFC fights I got finishes in the first two rounds, people just judge me on my last performance.
“The amount of times I have been told I lost that fight, the people that matter scored differently, the judges.
“The past year has been quite hard, people have been giving me hell on socials and online and stuff like that.
“I have even been told to take my own life and stuff like that so it is tough but you get on with it.
“You have got to take the bad with the good, that is just the way it is. MMA fans are fickle.
“When I beat Tony Ferguson everyone will jump back on the bandwagon.”