Khamzat Chimaev has revealed how watching Conor McGregor win the featherweight title by sensationally knocking out Jose Aldo in 2015 inspired him to pursue a career in MMA.
‘Notorious’ earned his most famous victory seven years ago when he knocked out one of the greatest fighters of all time in just 13 seconds at UFC 194.
A young ‘Borz’ was watching that night and even then he was imagining his chances against McGregor, so decided to pursue a career in the sport.
“I see the guy [Conor McGregor] hit it [Jose Aldo] out, Chimaev told ESPN. “I was thinking ‘If this lightweight guy did this shit, why can’t I do it?'”
McGregor has become one of the highest paid athletes in the world, with Forbes estimating his worth at $180 million in 2021 and Chimaev also thought to add a few extra zeros to his bank account.
“Like, mentally, I’m stronger than him, my body is bigger than him. I felt, at that time, if I meet him outside, I can break him, you know. If he makes that money , why not me ?
Since then, Chimaev has carved out a career in the sport and is on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars on the UFC roster.
The Swedish-Dagestani fighter has won 10 of 10 professional MMA fights and is 4-0 since joining the UFC in 2020. What’s unique about Chimaev is the dominance he has showed during his brief run with MMA’s premier promotion.
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“Borz” has, ridiculously, only absorbed two major strikes in the UFC as he battled against John Phillips, Rhys McKee, Gerald Meerschaert and Li Jingliang.
At UFC 273 on Saturday, the 27-year-old faces the toughest opponent of his career in former welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns. A victory over “Durinho” in Jacksonville, Fla. will put Chimaev in line for a 170-pound title shot and the chance to replicate McGregor as UFC champion.
On the same card, Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan will finally settle the score in the co-main event. “Aljo” sensationally became the first fighter in history to become champion by disqualification when Yan hit him with an illegal knee at UFC 259.
In the main event, Alexander Volkanovski will be looking to make the third defense of his featherweight title against longtime contender Chan Sung Jung’ The Korean Zombie.
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