Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White is so impressed with what he’s seen from undefeated welterweight sensation Khamzat Chimaev that he’s already prepared to break a few of the house rules for the 26 year-old Swede.
I guess he didn’t learn anything from the Sean O’Malley experiment.
Chimaev (8-0) was recently slotted to throw hands with middleweight bruiser Gerald Meerschaert at the UFC Vegas 11 event later this month in Las Vegas, then subsequently booked for a second time against Demian Maia in October.
Just don’t expect “GM3” to roll over and play dead.
“I find it disrespectful that the promotion can just line this up and put it out there in public,” Meerschaert told “The Bash” podcast. “And I think it’s disrespectful that Chimaev is like completely okay with like, ‘Okay just line this up, I’ll beat him, I don’t got to cut a lot of weight and then I’ll go fight somebody else.’”
Chimaev has only been with the promotion since last July and dazzled the UFC brass by scoring consecutive finishes within a span of 10 days. Prior to that, “Borz” spent a few years recycling cans on the international circuit.
“So far in the UFC you’ve fought a lightweight who came up to welterweight for his debut and didn’t look that great,” Meerschaert continued. “And then you fought a middleweight who had a rough weight cut and really isn’t that dangerous on the ground. And now you’re gonna fight a middleweight who’s gonna be bigger, stronger, and my technique’s going to be way better in the grappling department. So to think that you can start setting up fights afterward against a guy who, by the way, I’m tied with for most submissions in the middleweight division, if it’s not disrespectful then I don’t know what is.”
White defended the double booking because he’s the promoter and that’s his job. It would be naive to think this sort of thing doesn’t routinely happen behind closed doors when UFC matchmakers try to map out a fighter’s trajectory, but it’s certainly unusual to have it broadcast to the general public.
“It’s no disrespect to his opponent, he’s either gonna win or lose,” White told reporters on Tuesday night. “For a guy like him, I would never do that for somebody else. I’d be like, ‘Relax, let’s see if you get through this fight.’ But from what I’ve seen from him, I’m willing to do that with him.”
“I like it and I’ve never had a guy like this, so it’s fun,” White continued. “I’ll play this game with him. After what I saw in his first two fights, he fought real guys. He didn’t fight chumps. This isn’t a guy who blew through a couple of setup fights. He beat real people. I’m gonna see how it plays out.”
It should be noted that Chimaev beat John Phillips who is 1-4 inside the Octagon and Irish import Rhys McKee, who made his UFC debut against “Borz” on July 25.