Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson has a theory about why the UFC is giving such a huge promotional push to rising contender Khamzat Chimaev.
Chimaev, who is now 3-0 in the UFC, is one of the most hyped fighters on the UFC roster at present, and has been rewarded with a massive fight against No. 3-ranked welterweight contender Leon Edwards.
Speaking on Submission Radio, Thompson shared his theory on why Chimaev has been given such a huge push by the UFC. He believes it has something to do with the retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov.
With Nurmagomedov bowing out of the sport, Thompson believes the UFC is looking for somebody else to capture the interest of the valuable Russian market—somebody like Chimaev, who was born in Chechnya.
“Rankings is becoming a non-existent thing, it’s about the exciting fights,” Thompson said (via MMA Mania). “I kind of called it. I was like, man, why are they pushing this Khamzat guy so hard. And then I was like, watch Khabib retire. And they kind of did the same thing with Till. When Bisping retired, they needed somebody from that market to keep those fans involved, and Till was it. And I guess the same thing with Khamzat. They knew that Khabib was gonna retire and they needed somebody from that market, and there you go. You’ve got this Khamzat guy who’s been doing work.”
Since joining the UFC roster, Chimaev has picked up victories over John Phillips, Rhys McKee and Gerald Meerschaert, all by way of finish. The wins over Phillips and Meerschaert, a submission and a knockout, occured at middleweight, why his win over McKee, a submission, occurred at welterweight.
What do you think of Wonderboy’s theory about Khamzat Chimaev? Is the UFC hoping he can replace Khabib Nurmagomedov as a huge international star? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.