Khamzat Chimaev has just come off an incredible performance at UFC 267 that saw him demolish Welterweight contender, Li Jingliang, in little more than three minutes (watch highlights). How one-sided was it? Jingliang didn’t land a single punch on him ... not one.
One month later and we’re waiting for news on Chimaev’s next opponent ... and yeah, given his past schedule (COVID permitting), it could come at any moment. There were rumors he might step in and fill a gap at UFC 269 on Dec. 11, 2021, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. According to Chimaev in an extended interview with Hustle MMA, finding an opponent is continuing to be the main issue.
“I’m knocking on everyone’s door, I’m calling everyone out to fight, no one answers,” he said. “I don’t know. They answer on the Internet, they don’t answer in UFC. On the Internet they’re not afraid, they’re brave.”
While Chimaev is currently concentrating on fighting at 170 pounds so he can climb his way up the ranking ladders into a position for a title shot, don’t think he’s done competing at different weight classes. “Borz” doesn’t have champ-champ aspirations; on the contrary, wants to be the first champ-champ-champ.
“Of course, if you want to be the best fighter in the world regardless of the weight category, you have to fight with everyone and don’t just say ‘I’m better at one weight.’” he said. “I’ll go after that — I have plans to fight at 185 and if possible, 205. We’ll see. I’m tall. I stood next to Teixeira and Blachowicz and we are the same height. Maybe we can fight. I can gain a little weight, weightlifting and I can rest a little, weight 205 pounds. I don’t get fat, I’ll just get stronger. There will be no problem performing at different weight classes.”
Khamzat chatted with the Hustle MMA guys for nearly 90 minutes, discussing his early days when he’d just arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, and giving his thoughts on the Russian MMA scene. He also discussed Conor McGregor, just one of the many fighters he’s called out in the past couple of weeks.
“He lost something recently, don’t you think?” Khamzat said. “And his two losses. What happened to him. If a person becomes champion in two weight classes, there’s a lot of money and all that. Why does he need it? Maybe he’s not motivated. Most likely, yeah. I don’t know. But sports motivation doesn’t disappear because of money. It’s completely different, maybe you get tired of the media, I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t know what happened but the fact is that he was a good fighter.”
He also touched on his bad case of COVID-19, which hit him so hard he was coughing up blood and questioning whether he’d ever fight again. He publicly retired on Twitter at one point, but fortunately was back to full health a few months later.
“When you’re sick, when even you have the flu, there are a lot of stupid thoughts,” he said. “My brother called and scolded me: ‘What did you put out there?’ ‘I already did it, brother. I dunno, I’m sick. He says, ‘You need to talk to me first.’ I decide everything with my brother. Sometimes I can just post and be quick with the trigger then get into something, you know?”
“At the time I was alone in America, a bunch of pills on the table, the whole table is filled with pills and instructions,” he continued. “Take these and these pills. I’m like, ‘Whoa, if I take all these pills I think I’ll get sick again.’ And I don’t know English well, it was difficult to read. And in that sort of moment, I didn’t know what to do. All sorts of thoughts and emotions were coming. Because of emotions, I retired. And then I returned. I returned and everything is fine.”
Yep, Khamzat is back to barreling through his competition ... the few brave enough to accept a fight with him. He’s threatening to smesh everyone across multiple divisions, and very well may do it.
Everything is fine. It’s back to normal.