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Chimaev rejects ‘Khabib number 2’ label: ‘I am Khamzat, I can knock out people’

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Khamzat Chimaev made it a point coming into UFC Vegas 11 to show he was more than just a wrestler. He’s certainly proven himself in Dana White’s eyes.

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

Khamzat Chimaev did it again on Saturday night, powering through his third UFC fight in just over two months with complete ease. Each time he gets into the cage, he seems to have an easier time. This go around, he took out Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds with a lightning fast one punch knockout. If you thought the hype train was going full speed ahead for this kid before, wait til you see how people are talking about him now.

Dana White is certainly a believer.

“He said to me ‘You’ve seen me fight twice, you think I’m a wrestler. Wait til you see my hands,’” White told ESPN in a UFC Vegas 11 post-event interview. “That’s what he was telling me leading up to this fight. This kid is extremely confident. He knows what he can do, he knows what he’s capable of. And more importantly, he goes in and does it. He does exactly what he says he’s going to do. 17 seconds. One punch knockout. Kid’s special. He’s different. In however many years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never seen anything like him.”

“And let’s not forget: he did this at 185 pounds to a real guy at 185 pounds,” White continued. “He’s a 170 pounder. So everything that could possibly be special about this guy is special. We’re talking about - he could fight before Demian Maia. And then fight Demian. Who knows. We’ve got some scrambling to do before we leave tonight.”

During the post-fight press conference a calm and pleased Chimaev said it was just business in there with Meerschaert.

“Nothing personal. It’s sport. You have to talk,” he said.

But he did confirm that this fight was all about proving to the world he was more than a wrestler.

“Everybody say ‘You Khabib, Khabib No. 2,’ something like that,” Chimaev said. “But I am Khamzat . I can knock out people. Like, submit the people. Smash the people. Everything. I have everything.”

After the win, people actually started questioning whether Demian Maia was a stiff enough test for “Borz.” When asked if he was still interested in a fight against the legend on a Fight Island date TBD, Khamzat sounded fine with that ... or anything else the UFC might offer him.

“Yeah why not.” he said. “He’s best jiu jitsu in MMA. Now stop him? If I choke him out I am best jiu jitsu in MMA. We’ll see. I am ready for everybody. Like I said to Dana, if you give me Demian Maia I am ready for him. If they give me Brock Lesnar, I am ready for him also.”

Unsurprisingly, he’s absolutely okay with any talk coming his way regarding a title shot ... at welterweight against Kamaru Usman, or middleweight against Israel Adesanya.

“Of course, why not? I did hard work for that,” he said. “I am ready. Both divisions. If I do my hard work, nobody challenge for me. I gotta stop both guys.”

We don’t think it’s quite time to declare Chimaev a legitimate threat to two division titles ... but who knows where Khamzat’s career will sit another two months from now.