‘He was screaming crazy bullshit’
Khamzat Chimaev has only been on the UFC scene for a few years, but he’s already well on his way to becoming a true superstar.
“Borz” has the chance to pick up the biggest win of his career when he takes on MMA legend Nate Diaz at UFC 279 in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The 28-year-old burst onto the Fight Island scene during the COVID pandemic in 2020 where he fought twice in ten days, winning both.
Chimaev dominated and dispatched Welsh middleweight fighter John Phillips in two rounds on the UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Ige undercard before calling for another fight.
A few days later, “The Wolf” moved up to welterweight and picked up a TKO victory over former Cage Warriors star Rhys Mckee, who had no answers for his relentless struggle.
The former BRAVE CF fighter made his competitive debut when he faced Li Jingliang at UFC 267 last October.
Many thought ‘The Leech’ posed a real threat to his perfect record, but it was one of his easiest fights to date, so easy in fact, he even struck up a conversation with the president of the UFC, Dana White, mid-fight.
Chimaev picked up his opponent and walked over to chat with the UFC boss while still holding him. The Russian-born Swede eventually slammed Jingliang to the mat before continuing to converse with White.
After the conversation stopped, he locked in a rear-naked choke submission to complete his toughest test in just over three minutes – cementing his status as MMA’s hottest prospect.
“I said to Dana, ‘I’m the king here. I’ve been here a long time and I’m gonna kill everybody’ I wanted to talk to Dana White. I come here for everyone, I am the champion, I am the king here,” Chimaev said in his post-fight interview.
White found the whole experience weirdly awesome, mostly due to the young star expressing his desire to fight WWE legend and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
“He was shouting crazy bullshit at me the whole fight,” the boss told reporters after UFC 267.
“I don’t know why, but he was just like, ‘I’m going to fight everybody. I will fight Brock Lesnar. I don’t care who it is. You know, he was just yelling stuff like that.
Chimaev picked up a unanimous decision victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 earlier this year to rocket to No. 3 in the standings and become a legitimate title contender at 170 pounds.
An impressive win over Diaz should be enough to secure Chimaev a title shot. However, he may be forced to take an interim fight as Leon Edwards is set to make a first title defense against Kamaru Usman in England next year.
Darren Till’s sparring partner recently revealed he could return to middleweight to face either Israel Adesanya or Alex Pereira – who are fighting for the 185lb title in November – rather than sit on the sidelines and wait the winner of Edwards against Usman 3.
“I’ll take another fight, and we’ll see what happens. Maybe Israel Adesanya or the other guy, Pereira. Who wins this, maybe fight with them,” Chimaev told ESPN.
First, he needs to get past Diaz who, despite being a huge underdog, is confident going into what many expect will be his last UFC fight.
The California native has caused some monumental upsets in the past – just ask Conor McGregor – and he’ll imagine his chances of doing it again at UFC 279.