Khamzat Chimaev assures there is nothing but love between him and former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Chimaev (9-0) denied any tension between him and Khabib (29-0) in a recent interview. According to the Chechnya-born Swedish fighter, the alleged beef was manufactured by a specific interview question.
“This guy [Khabib], we looked up to him beginning and now still look up to him,” Chimaev told Frontkick.online (h/t MMA News). “He [became] a champ, he’s one of the best fighters in the world. And people think I hate him. I love him because he’s Muslim. I’m Muslim. He comes from some village like me, same country, same small Republic, like Chechnya, Dagestan. It’s the same. I have a lot of brothers from Dagestan. He’s Muslim, I’m Muslim, we’re brothers.
“I answered to some bulls—t guy, but nobody knows him,” Chimaev continued. “It’s my [mistake] because I answer for him. He said like, ‘Khabib gonna smash you…’ If somebody says to you, ‘He gonna smash you,’ of course I’m gonna answer it like, ‘No, nobody gonna smash me. I’m gonna smash everybody. If you are a real man, you have to think like that.”
Chimaev set 2020 ablaze with three consecutive fights in just over two months, winning all three and earning “Performance of the Night” bonuses for each. Unfortunately, a long-haul battle with COVID-19 put his career in jeopardy. He finally appears to be healthy and will fight Welterweight Li Jingliang (No. 12) at UFC 267, which is scheduled to take place on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Sat., Oct. 30, 2021, via ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV).
Nurmagomedov retired as UFC Lightweight champion following a second-round submission victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in Oct. 2020.
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