Khamzat Chimaev believes he’s probably two victories away from the opportunity to compete for a UFC world championship.
Chimaev was the breakout UFC star of summer, 2020. 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 this rapid fire wins, he’s been hunting for a big name opponent for his next fight. As of yet, he hasn’t found a willing dance partner.
“I say to Dana White, just give me someone,” Chimaev told Dan Hardy on Fight Island (via MMA Mania). “They say right now ‘This guy not top 10, not top 5,’ Sometime they say nobody knows this guy. Everybody talk about me, how can you say nobody knows Khamzat? I think everybody’s scared. Everybody.
“They ask me always, my manager calls me and says ‘Want to fight Thompson?’ I say yes. Then they say he don’t want fight,” Chimaev added. “They say Chris Weidman, I say yes. Chris Weidman don’t want fight. Demian Maia don’t want fight. They say Neil Magny, I say doesn’t matter, don’t ask me. Just give me somebody. 19 December they say okay let’s go, 19 December. Then Darren Till say something, I say come to Abu Dhabi. He say ‘I have fight in December,’ I also have fight in December. We can fight here and then in December also.”
Whoever he ends up fighting next, Chimaev believes it’ll only take two more wins before he’s fighting for UFC gold—at either welterweight or middleweight.
“I think now, two more fights,” Chimaev said. As for which weight class? “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter for me. Both guys, maybe both same day, both fights, we’ll see.”
The UFC middleweight division is currently ruled by Israel Adesanya, while the welterweight division is the territory of Kamaru Usman. Chimaev has already shared his belief that he could beat both men.
“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.”
How far do you think Khamzat Chimaev is from a UFC title shot?