Daniel Cormier praises Khamzat-Chimaev: “I believe he is the scariest competitor we have seen in a while.”


Khamzat Chimaev hasn’t spent much time in the UFC octagon, but Daniel Cormier has seen enough to believe the Chechen-born mauler may be the biggest threat to Kamaru Usman’s title reign.

With a perfect 10-0 mark and no opponent reaching the second round, Chimaev is set to face his greatest test at UFC 273. He will be facing Gilbert Burns, who was once the title challenger. Despite a vast difference in experience, especially against established, high-level competition, Chimaev is currently sitting as high as a 6-to-1 favorite on the betting lines over Burns.

Although it might seem like a rude decision to give a top-ranked welterweight to Burns before a fight against an unproven prospect. Cormier thinks the odds reflect the best outcome.

“I think he’s the scariest contender we have seen for a while,” Cormier said of Chimaev when speaking to MMA Fighting. “Look, the odds may seem high — but when you look at these guys, you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Do you believe [Chimaev] wins?’ Maybe he doesn’t dominate, but at the end of it, do you think he wins the fight against Gilbert Burns? If you ask yourself this question and answer ‘I believe so’, it doesn’t really matter if the odds of him winning are -100, or even — they’re still saying that he will win.

“They make it so you have to risk so much in order to make anything on him. If you believe he will win the fight, as a lot people think, odds are not really that important. He’s definitely the [scariest] competitor we have had for quite some time .”


Beyond his skills in the cage, Cormier also loves Chimaev’s demeanor and penchant for rarely being in the public eye, which makes him a mystery to fans and other fighters alike.

It might make opponents even more intimidated that Chimaev doesn’t do interviews, or even talk about the fight beyond predicting that Chimaev will smash everyone and everything that UFC throws at him.

“There’s just so many unknowns,” Cormier said. “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. He should remain a mystery. 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. His fear is very frightening .”

When it comes down to Usman Cormier admits it will take a special fighter to defeat the UFC’s reigning champion at welterweight, but he doesn’t rule out the possibility that Chimaev could do the same.

With a wrestling pedigree, heavy hands, and incredible strength for a fighter competing at 170 pounds, Cormier views Chimaev as the total package, which ultimately makes him a serious obstacle for Usman.

“To say anyone will knock off Kamaru Usman is a lot, but if there’s a guy that seems to be a challenge, it seems to be this guy,” Cormier said.

” I can’t help but wonder what the odds of it being Chimaev/Usman. It would be interesting to know the odds of Usman and Burns opening up. I don’t think it is as high as it is. This speaks volumes about the power that Chimaev has displayed on paper. It’s big shoes. This is a big deal. This dude appears to be the real deal .”

Beating Burns could answer nearly every question about Chimaev’s potential. Cormier is eager to watch how this all plays out.

“As the fights get tougher, we’ll see, but what he did to Li Jingliang was ridiculous,” Cormier said. “Then I go into the interview [after the fight] and I say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Khamzat Chimaev,’ and he goes, ‘Brother, of course you are [speaking to me] — what was the option? I was the one. It was never going to be Li.’ It was tremendous.

“He has the charisma and the fighting skills. I’m a fan. Khamzat is a huge favorite of mine.