Khamzat Chimaev may not have accomplished what Royce Gracie has (yet), but the up-and-coming star has proven to be the real deal after winning his first three fights under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner in (modern) record time, including his 17-second knockout win over Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Vegas 11.
With such performances under his belt, not only is his bank account getting bigger by the minute, but so is his hype. Indeed, former UFC “champ-champ” Daniel Cormier firmly believes that “The Wolf” will follow in his footsteps of being a UFC double champion.
And he will accomplish that rare feat in record time, too.
“Let me turn the music on,” Cormier said on the “DC and Helwani” podcast (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “Choo-choo! Where’s my steering wheel? Because I’m driving the train, baby. You know I’m driving the train. What about when he made his debut and you had to tell me his name? That was like three fights ago!... Boy, do I know who he is now. I’m the conductor of this train and I’m not letting certain people on.
“[The UFC] were like, ‘We’re gonna schedule him two because this dude’s special,’ and boy he showed it last weekend,” Cormier added. “And you know what’s even more impressive? He’s a 170-pounder.”
That’s right, Chimaev’s first two wins came in the span of 10 days, one at 185 pounds and the other at Welterweight. In an effort to get another quick fight under his belt he took the Meerschaert fight at 185 pounds. It’s that type of skill and mentality to be able to fight in multiple divisions at the drop of a hat that leads“DC” to believe Khamzat will be the next to join himself, Amanda Nunes, Henry Cejudo and Conor McGregor in the exclusive “champ-champ” club.
“By 2021, Khamzat Chimaev is fighting for the belt or is the champ. In 2021, Khamzat Chimaev is the double champ, 170 and 185 (pounds). I love [UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya] but he goes up and down, he fights everybody. After what I saw ... this spaceship is going to the moon.... He’s got a great philosophy, he’s got a great mind for fighting, he’s got all the physical ability to dominate two weight classes, dude is the real deal.”
“Borz” has shown that he isn’t letting the praise and hype affect his performances. That said, with everyone fawning over him at the moment, it remains to be seen if he can avoid letting the pressure of living up to all of it get to him.
Furthermore, his challenges will only get tougher, which means he will have to keep improving each night out.
“Do you want to see him get tested?” Cormier said. “Because he’s honestly not going to get tested until he gets to the elite of the elite. But I mean, who do you match him up with? He’s got to be almost ranked.... I want him with one of the best guys. Put him in a Top 10 fight. Neil Magny. Put him in there with Neil Magny. That’s the one.”
For now, the man most likely to face Chimaev next is Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia, a fight that has yet to be finalized, though it is expected to go down next month on “Fight Island.”