Khamzat Chimaev likes his chances against Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman, who hold the UFC middleweight and welterweight titles respectively.
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.
Now the hottest prospect in MMA, he’s been booked for a fight with No. 3-ranked UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards, and is seen by many as a future title challenger at both welterweight and middleweight.
He started with Usman, suggesting the champion will be unable to match him on the feet or the mat.
“(Usman is) a good fighter, but doesn’t have that knockout punch like I have and he doesn’t have wrestling like me,” Chimaev said (via MMA Junkie). “What is he going to do? If I do my hard work in the gym, nobody can beat me in the fight.”
In a potential fight with Adesanya, Chimaev believes he’ll be able to lean on his wrestling to dethrone the champion.
“I think Paulo Costa was scared in this fight,” Chimaev said. “I don’t know why people are scared to go in the cage and fight. In the gym, everybody’s tough, like hard sparring. Then (they) come to the cage, they are being chicken. I don’t understand this mentality.
“(Adesanya is) good in the standup, but nobody did wrestling against him. Yoel Romero, he only threw three or four punches in the standup. … I can beat this guy. How is he going to come up from under me if I take him down? I don’t think he will. I’m going to beat his face.”
How do you think Khamzat Chimaev would perform against Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman?