Reigning and undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov recently shared his thoughts on rising star Khamzat Chimaev.
The surging welterweight and middleweight contender, Chimaev (9-0 MMA), has seen a meteoric rise to fame following his three stoppage victories in just over two month’s while competing under the UFC banner.
Khamzat Chimaev has drawn comparisons to Khabib Nurmagomedov for his ability to overwhelm and “smesh” his opponents.
While the Swedish prospect was not exactly a fan of that comparison, he did acknowledge that ‘The Eagle’ was a special talent.
That feeling of respect is clearly mutual, as Khabib Nurmagomedov shared nothing but high praise for Khamzat Chimaev during his virtual pre-fight interview for UFC 254.
“I don’t know what the UFC is going to do with him about his next opponent, but in my opinion, I think he deserves top 10, top 15,” Nurmagomedov said (via MMAJunkie). “In my opinion, it’s top 10. He deserves to fight with a really tough opponent, like five rounds, and then after this one, he deserves a contender fight.”
It was initially planned for Chimaev to fight Demian Maia next if he emerged victorious against Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Vegas 11. However, after Khamzat dusted the middleweight veteran in just 17-seconds plans have since changed.
Most recently Chimaev has been linked to potential fights with perennial welterweight contenders Stephen Thompson or Neil Magny next. However, according to ‘Wonderboy’, the UFC has not reached out to him about a potential fight.
According to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has the same manager (Ali Abdelaziz) as Chimaev, the Swedish star is currently being targeted for a five-round main event this December.
“He finish all his opponents, what do you think?” Nurmagomedov said on Chimaev. “Ali told me he’s going fight with tough opponent, five rounds in December. This is very interesting. Main event in UFC, this is very good attention and good opportunity for him, and if he wins this fight, next fight I think he deserves contender fight.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to return to the Octagon at this month’s UFC 254 event where he will square off with current interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje in a highly anticipated title unification bout.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on October 2, 2020