The Rocket takes on player-of-the-season and defending champion Neil Robertson today in the semi-finals of the Tour Championship in what is a repeat of last year’s final. Six-time world champion O’Sullivan, 46, will be back at world No1 next week ahead of the Betfred World Championship where he will try to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven crowns.
But his sensational and thrilling 10-9 quarter-final win in Llandudno on Wednesday against old Class of 1992 rival Mark Williams was supported by good pal Pimblett.
O’Sullivan, who made five centuries against Williams, was was in the audience at the O2 Arena recently as 27-year-old Liverpool lightweight ‘The Baddy’ beat Rodrigo Vargas. Keep-fit fanatic O’Sullivan said: “I am definitely going to try and do some sparring with him, when I next go to Liverpool he has told me I have got to get in the cage. And I am well up for that, it is all fitness.
“I went to Paddy’s last fight in London at the O2 with Damien Hirst, because he is a huge fan of UFC and knows the big bosses. We were sitting front row watching Paddy and Molly McCann too, and it was a great night. I have got to know Paddy over the last few weeks.
“He is a super, lovely guy and is going to be a real superstar – well, he is already really, but he is going to be mega, he has that X-Factor. What I like about UFC over maybe even the boxing is that you will never get an easy route. You have to fight whoever they say you are going to fight.
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“In boxing there is a lot of politics involved, and fighters get to fight certain fighters and avoid certain fighters. So the public can be frauded that some are better than they really are because they avoid the real, proper fights. But in UFC that doesn’t happen so much, they know that if they want to be the guvnor then they have got to fight each other. That’s the one thing I really like.
“It was just an amazing atmosphere at the O2, with 17,000 people and Paddy had the place rocking, he was the star of the night along with Molly. He just has an aura, everyone is talking about him. It was weird, my son was like ‘You went to the UFC, Paddy’s a legend’ and he loved it when I sent him a picture of us.
“We had breakfast together in Llandudno on the morning of my match with Mark Williams, all my friends from Liverpool brought him down. There are a few of the lads, and we had a couple of beers afterwards.”