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Khabib supports rise of Khamzat Chimaev: He deserves top 10 opponent, then No. 1 contender fight

UFC Fight Night: Chimaev v Meerschaert Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Khamzat Chimaev has dominated all three of his UFC opponents to date and current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is beginning to take notice.

Chimaev, who debuted this past July, is currently 3-0 inside of the Octagon and is coming off a 17-second knockout finish over Gerald Meerschaert (highlights HERE). He has looked like an unstoppable force and is quickly turning into one of UFC president Dana White’s favorite fighters, especially since “Borz” competes in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions.

Whether Chimaev approves or not, his dominance inside of the cage has been compared to that of Nurmagomedov, who is 12-0 in UFC (29-0 overall) and has lost just one round throughout his promotional stay. Khabib is widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today and a fighter who many try to emulate.

“I don’t know what the UFC is going to do with him about his next opponent, but in my opinion, I think he deserves top 10, top 15,” Nurmagomedov said of Chimaev during UFC 254’s virtual media day (replay HERE). “In my opinion, it’s top 10. He deserves to fight with a really tough opponent, like five rounds, and then after this one, he deserves a contender fight.”

Chimaev was expected to fight Demian Maia in his next Octagon appearance, but the promotion seems to be changing things up after “Borz” finished his last opponent with one punch in just 17 seconds. Early Friday, reports surfaced linking Chimaev to a main event clash with former welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson sometime in November.

A clash with “Wonderboy” would be massive for the 26-year-old prospect and would represent one of the fastest UFC rises since Conor McGregor and Israel Adesanya. Either way, Chimaev is on the cusp of putting himself smack-dab in the middle of 2021 title talks.

“He finish all his opponents, what do you think?” asked Nurmagomedov. “Ali told me he’s going fight with tough opponent, five rounds in December. This is very interesting. Main event in UFC, this is very good attention and good opportunity for him, and if he wins this fight, next fight I think he deserves contender fight.”

As for Khabib, he is set to defend his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje later this month at UFC 245, which will be the promotion’s final stop on “Fight Island” before the new year.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 254 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 254: “Khabib vs. Gaethje” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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