All Khamzat Chimaev wants is his next UFC fight booked. When will somebody step up?
ABU DHABI – Khamzat Chimaev has emerged as one of the biggest rising stars in MMA, and he’s certainly enjoying the ride.
Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) burst onto the UFC scene in July when he made history by picking up two wins in two different weight classes in the span of a record 10 days on “Fight Island.”
After dominating John Phillips and submitting him in Round 2 at UFC on ESPN 13, Chimaev made a quick turnaround and dispatched of Rhys McKee in just over three minutes at UFC on ESPN 14, picking up two bonuses in the process.
Two months later, Chimaev made his U.S. debut against Gerald Meerschaert at UFC on ESPN+ 36 in what was, on paper, meant to be his toughest test to date. But Chimaev blasted right through Meerschaert in 17 seconds with a knockout that showed a different side to his game.
Life has certainly changed for the All Stars Gym Sweden prospect, who’s seen his social media following skyrocket to a remarkable 877,000 on Instagram. Sure, Chimaev now gets hounded by media and fans, but the undefeated finisher spends the majority of his time in the gym training and helping out his teammates, whom he’s often cornering.
“I always stay in the gym. I live close to the gym,” Chimaev told MMA Junkie and other reporters Thursday. “I go to the gym, train, come back, I sleep in the hotel, I eat in the hotel. I always focus on the training, I don’t know how it’s going outside.”
As for his newfound fame? Chimaev’s all good with it.
“Many people always know me,” he said. “They come to me, take pictures, speak to me. I love that. It’s good energy.”
With three dominant performances under his belt, Chimaev has struggled to find a willing opponent who’s ranked at either welterweight or middleweight. He’s been linked to the likes of former title challengers Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson, but neither booking came to fruition. Darren Till, Alex Oliveira and Neil Magny all threw their names in the hat, but Till and Oliveira already have upcoming bookings.
A fight announcement seems imminent, and it appears that Chimaev is headed to his first main event on Dec. 19 back in Las Vegas. But for Chimaev, the opponent, date and weight class never mattered. He’s just eager to fight and fulfill his goal of becoming champion.
“I don’t know. I’m waiting for somebody,” Chimaev said. “We will see. Many guys, they say ‘he’s not top 10, nobody knows him.’ Everybody talks about me. How can they say that, that nobody knows me? I think these guys are scared. I call (expletive). …
“For me, it doesn’t matter. I wanna fight. I love to fight. The belt is coming. What are they gonna do? I finish all my opponents They have to give me this belt.”