Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is not riding the Khamzat Chimaev hype train. Far from it.
Chimaev was the breakout UFC star of the summer. The Chechen-Swede first picked up two wins in the span of 10 days on Fight Island in July, defeating John Phillips by first-round submission and Rhys McKee by first-round TKO, then picked up his third win of the season when he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Vegas 11, also in the first round.
In the wake of those wins, he’s been the talk of the MMA world, and has been taking full advantage of his time in the spotlight, calling out stars like Conor McGregor, Nick Diaz, and even reigning champions like Adesanya and welterweight titleholder Kamaru Usman.
“Of course! Why not?” Chimaev said after his win over Meerschaert, when asked about fighting Usman and Adesanya. “I did hard work for that. I’m ready. Both divisions.
“If I do my hard work, nobody’s a challenge for me,” he added, offering a bold prediction for both potential matchups. “I’m going to stop both guys.”
Adesanya, however, isn’t impressed with what he’s seen from the undefeated prospect.
The middleweight champion, who is set to defend his title against undefeated challenger Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC 253 this Saturday on Fight Island, discussed Chimaev in a recent interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports.
“I don’t even know the guy, I haven’t seen his fights yet,” Adesanya said (via MMA Mania). “I saw the presser and he was just talking s**t. He was just casting his net. Have you seen him fight? Rat lip? Meh …
“Tim said he fought low level competition,” Adesanya added. “So he thinks I’m an easy fight … that’s interesting. I mean, everyone does this when they’re coming up, casting the net wide. Yeah, keep casting.”
Who do you think would win a potential fight between Khamzat Chimaev and Israel Adesanya?