One of the positives to come out of this unusual year of mixed martial arts (MMA) is the sudden Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) realization that quick turnarounds can really accelerate the development of hot prospects. It’s a no brainer, really: how are fans supposed to get invested when the average UFC fighter appears in front of them twice a year, maybe three times if lucky?
Now we’ve got guys like Khamzat Chimaev, who fought three times in 2020 and was supposed to fight again next weekend before COVID-19 once again screwed things up. And then there’s Kevin Holland, who just won his fifth fight of the year against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in extremely impressive fashion.
Holland hasn’t been getting the same level of hype as Khamzat has from UFC, and in typical “Big Mouth” fashion, he decided the best way to fix that was to call out Chimaev following his UFC 256 win.
“I know Chimaev was supposed to fight on Dec. 19, you know?” he said during his interview with Joe Rogan. “He fights at ’85 and ’70. Come back up to ’85! I think he should stay at ’70, I think he could be a champ at 170. But if he comes up here to 185, I’m gonna bang that boy up!
“He doesn’t have a reputation for fighting all the time, that’s just what all the casuals think, that he fights all the time,” Holland added during the post fight press conference (via MMA Junkie). “He fought three times this year, two times against bums and then another time against Gerald Meerschaert. Gerald Meerschaert’s not a bum, but he was coming off a knockout. He hasn’t beaten anybody in the UFC with a win.”
Unfortunately for Holland, UFC has already decided to move Khamzat Chimaev vs. Leon Edwards from Dec. 19, 2020, to Jan. 20, 2021, on account of Leon testing positive for COVID-19. There was also a report from legit Swedish outlet Kimura.se that Khamzat had tested positive as well, followed by some pretty vague statements about Khamzat still being “good to go” before the fight got moved. So we have our doubts Chimaev is available on the 19th.
That doesn’t bother Holland, who would still be down to fight next weekend should the opportunity arise.
“I’m a company man.” he said. “Whatever they want me to do, I’m here to do. If they want me to fight next week, I’ll fight next week. If they want me to fight in a couple of months, I’ll fight in a couple of months. Whatever they want me to do, that’s what I’m here to do.”