Last summer few fighters seized their opportunities like Khamzat Chimaev. The Sweden-based Chechen debuted and won his first three bouts with the UFC on Fight Island, ending each contest by stoppage.
His third win was a sub-20 second KO of Gerald Meerschaert. After that happened Chimaev started being talked up as a future champion. Among his supporters was UFC President Dana White and Octagon luminaries Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
After beating Meerschaert in September the unranked Chimaev began sharing the notion that nobody wanted to fight him. However, this idea that Chimaev was the most feared man in the sport falls apart when considering the list of fighters who spoke out about their desires to test the new guy.
After stoking some intrigue regarding booking Chimaev against either Demian Maia or Stephen Thompson, White was unable to make those fights happen. As a result Chimaev sat on the sidelines until a main even slot fell into his lap.
Leon Edwards, who has been out of action since beating Rafael dos Anjos in 2019 and who is on an eight fight winning streak, had a public, albeit brief, spat with the UFC last year. After his fight with Tyron Woodley fell through thanks to the pandemic, Edwards was removed from the ranking due to inactivity.
Edwards spoke up about how confusing and unfair he found that situation. Shortly after this it was announced that Edwards had taken a main event fight with Chimaev and that his name would be returned to the rankings.
Their fight was set for December. However, Edwards got COVID-19. So the fight was pushed to January. But then Chimaev got COVID-19. So the fight was rescheduled for March. However, with Chimaev’s bout with the coronavirus being so severe that he needed more time to recover the fight was eventually cancelled. Edwards will now face Belal Muhammad on March 3.
With Chimaev seemingly close to a full recovery ‘Bors’ is now back online calling his next shot. According to MMA Junkie Chimaev says he’ll be good to go in June.
In announcing when he would like to compete again, Chimaev also gave us a hint as to who his next opponent might be. In that volley of twitter messages, Chimaev exchanged words with welterweight vet Neil Magny, telling him to “be ready.”
There’s a good chance Magny will be both ready and willing to duel with Chimaev. Magny is one of the most active fighters the UFC has ever seen with 24 Octagon appearances under his belt since 2013. He’s also made it clear in the past that he wants to fight the much hyped Chimaev.
It remains to be seen with the UFC will green-light such a match-up, but if both fighters get their wish we might be see Chimaev face his stiffest test yet this summer.
About the author