Khamzat Chimaev has not competed since Sept. 2020 and has yet to secure a victory over an opponent ranked in the Top 15. But that hasn’t stopped promotion president Dana White — as well as the combat sports media — from treating “Borz” like he’s something “special.”
So how did the Russian-born Swede get so popular in such a short amount of time?
“I think he is the product of popularity amongst these Russian fighters,” fellow welterweight Kevin Lee told Submission Radio. “I think there’s tomfoolery going on behind there, to be honest with you. I think there’s a lot of Russian bots, if we gonna talk about it. And people are like sheep, they like to follow the crowd. So, if they see a whole lot of digital numbers, then they tend to go with those numbers, and I think Khamzat is gonna benefit from that. But that’s not something that, I’m not interested in playing them games.”
Real or manufactured, the 27 year-old Chimaev (9-0) will have to prove his popularity is warranted against 170-pound veteran Li Jingliang as part of the UFC 267 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Oct. 30 at “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.
Lee, 28, makes his Octagon return against Daniel Rodriguez later this month.