Undefeated UFC welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev has captured the fascination of the mixed martial arts (MMA) community by showing up, kicking ass, and going home. To date, “Borz” is 10-0 with all 10 victories ending by way of knockout or submission. That includes his UFC 267 destruction of Li Jingliang, a first-round ass whooping that featured a 58-0 striking differential.
“Wow, who in the world is Khamzat Chimaev?” former UFC heavyweight champion and part-time color commentator Daniel Cormier asked on Twitter back in summer 2020. “This dude right here just smashing dudes. Two of ‘em in a week. Wow.”
UFC 273 will mark the second time Chimaev has competed in front of a stateside audience and his absence from the local spotlight has added an extra layer of mystique to the No. 11-ranked “Borz.” That said, Cormier believes this recent video campaign from Chimaev — featuring UFC middleweight and social media troll Darren Till — is doing more harm than good, at least in the short term.
“There’s just so many unknowns,” Cormier told MMA Fighting. “When I was a kid and I’d watch [Mankind in WWE] and it would say he’s from parts unknown, I’m like where is this dude from? Even though I knew he was ‘Cactus Jack.’ I knew underneath it was ‘Cactus Jack.’ It’s like Khamzat. There’s just so many questions, and every time he comes [to fight], he comes in, he dominates, and he’s gone.”
“I love the whole buddy-buddy thing with Darren Till but I think it’s a mistake, I think he should continue to be a mystery to people,” Cormier continued. “I think he should have as little time in front of the public and showing who he is, pulling the curtain back. I would pull the curtain back as little as I could if I’m Khamzat, just because the mystery is good for him. He’s very scary.”
I guess now would be a good time to mention that both Chimaev and Till are sponsored by Blockasset, “an athlete-verified NFT platform and ecosystem,” and their buddy-buddy shtick for the “Smesh Brothers” video series is paid promotion. Not sure anyone is going to pay Chimaev to peek out from behind the arena curtain, or hide in a Swedish gym and beat up the Sunday comics.
It also stands to reason that Chimaev will earn the next 170-pound title shot with a dominant victory over former title challenger Gilbert Burns on the UFC 273 pay-per-view (PPV) main card, scheduled for this Sat. night (April 9, 2022) inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. But whether or not that upcoming title shot comes against Kamaru Usman or Leon Edwards remains to be seen.