Khamzat Chimaev still has a long way to go before he overtakes longtime veteran Donald Cerrone as the most active fighter on the UFC roster, but the Russian-born combatant is off to one mighty start.
After dominating John Phillips in his UFC debut at UFC Fight Island 2 on July 15, he turned right around to steamroll Rhys McKee 10 days later at UFC on ESPN 14, knocking him out in the very first round (see it).
And just like that “Smesh Mania” was born, as Chimaev started drawing comparisons to the one and only Khabib Nurmagomedov after having only spent a little under 10 minutes inside the Octagon.
“Borz” will look to keep it going as he is in line for yet another fast turnaround because UFC president Dana White is really trying hard to lock down an opponent for him for the UFC 252 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Aug. 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Khamzat. I mean, you know? The guy is so dominant, so confident, wants to continue to fight every weekend,” Dana said in an interview with ESPN. And if it’s one thing Dana loves is a fighter who is willing to fight anytime, anyone, anywhere.
“I love it. I love guys with that mentality. I love how talented this guy is. We threw the hottest prospect out of the U.K. at him and that kid is a badass. That kid is a legit great fighter. (Chimaev) made it look like he didn’t belong there. … The kid is legit. He’s real and he knows it and I love it.
“He said he wanted to fight and I said, ‘Done. I’ll make it happen,” he added. “He wants to fight now again in August. I’m going to get him what he wants.”
White and the rest of his matchmaking team are currently trying to figure out what makes sense for the undefeated (8-0, 2-0 UFC) fighter and didn’t give any kind of indication as to where they were leaning. At the end of the day, it won’t matter for Chimaev, says White, as he has the type of mentality that makes him believe he can take on current Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, right now.
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” White said. “We were sitting in here this morning trying to figure out what we think is next. If you ask this kid, he’s ready to fight Usman. You know what I mean? Is he ready for Usman? The way he looks, who knows? Maybe.”
While I don’t hate the confidence, Chimaev needs to slow his roll just a little bit and perhaps start picking off some of the Top 15. Taking it slow, however, is not in his vocabulary as Khamzat told ESPN that he expects to fight for the title sooner, rather than later, if he continues his pace.
“I don’t think they want to give me a tough fight because I only have two fights. But if they do, I will be happy to smash somebody from the Top 10.
“As soon as possible,” said Chimaev, when asked how quickly he believes he can win a UFC title. “I will not fight once a year — five, six, seven, as many as possible. If I win all my fights, if I finish everybody like I do, I get it soon.”
That said, don’t forget what happened to this top contender UFC tried to push a little too quickly.