Khamzat Chimaev says his easiest UFC fight is still out ahead of him.
With the exception of his ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate with Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 nearly a year ago, Chimaev has run through the rest of his past opponents. Gerald Meerschaert, Jingliang Li, and Kevin Holland fell short against ‘Borz’ in less than a round, but the Chechen admits none of them were as easy as they appeared.
Surprisingly enough, that distinction was reserved for an opponent Chimaev hasn’t even faced yet: UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira. Since his stunning fifth-round TKO of Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 this past November, the Swedish sensation set his sights on ‘Po Atan,’ who he offered to ’smash’ for his first defense.
Since the UFC went with an immediate rematch between Pereira and Adesanya instead, Chimaev has to wait for the opportunity. If he gets it, the 28-year-old expects to dispatch the middleweight division’s current king.
“He’s the most easy fight for me in the UFC,” said Chimaev during an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “In my career, brother.
“First round, first minute,” continued Chimaev. “Easy. No punch, nothing.”
As straightforward as he seems to see his fight against Pereira going, Chimaev also added that Adesanya should also have little to no difficulty with the Brazilian—as long as he focuses on his wrestling.
“If Israel trains just wrestling in this training camp, he will beat him easily,” said Chimaev. “The guy has zero wrestling. I don’t know. Yes, UFC likes to push that guy, crazy guy, and he’s playing, showing his face always serious, and all that s—t. Why play that much? I don’t like that guy. He has no real wrestling. Who they give him? Who was wrestler in his career?”
For his next fight, Chimaev remains unscheduled. The two-division wonder is moving up from welterweight to middleweight, hoping to face a top-ranked name such as Robert Whittaker next.
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