After starting off as a fan-favorite, Khamzat Chimaev lost a innumerable supporters in the aftermath of UFC 279, which saw him miss weight for his scheduled Welterweight main event fight against Nate Diaz last Saturday (Sept. 10, 2022) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As a result of the botched weight cut, the promotion had to reshuffle the deck, leading to Tony Ferguson stepping in to replace Chimaev in the headlining act, while “Borz” was relegated to the co-main event, where he submitted Kevin Holland in the first round (see it here).
But, Chimaev didn’t seem too bothered that fans turned on him, which was evident after he was booed during the ceremonial weigh ins. Undeterred, Chimaev gave the crowd the double bird, which was perhaps prompted by Darren Till’s advise to embrace the hate.
“I said to him, it’s time to embrace being the bad guy now. Embrace it, you know. I feel like since my career started not only have I done s—t, and this and that. I felt like a bad guy a lot of the time,” he told ESPN (via Sportskeeda).
“I just said to him — after the press conference, the weight cuts and everything — I just said, ‘what are you going to do mate, what are you going to do? Just embrace it, you’re the villain now, you’re the bad guy, you’re the Joker in Batman, you’re the evil guy so just embrace it,’ and he did, like, so good.”
After his win, Chimaev continued his bad guy persona after Joe Rogan asked him about his historic scale fail, to which he replied, “I dont’ care.” The wrestling guru’s misstep likely cost him a shot at the Welterweight title, which he would have earned had he defeated Diaz. Nevertheless, Chimaev proved once again that he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport by rag-dolling Holland, sending a message to the rest of the division.
While there are no concrete plans for his return, it’s safe to bet we will see him before year’s end since he once again took zero damage in his quick night inside the Octagon. Whether or not he continues on with the heel role moving forward remains to be seen.
For complete UFC 279 results and coverage click here.