Kevin Holland: Khamzat Chimaev ‘only does this extra wannabe street s*** when the media is around’


Kevin Holland simply asks for Khamzat Chimiev to maintain that energy.

Ahead of his UFC 279 fight against Daniel Rodriguez, Holland makes it clear that he has no beef with the event’s brash headliner, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to sugarcoat what he sees.

With both men in Las Vegas for UFC 279, it’s hard for Holland to ignore what he said is how Chimaev acts for cameras compared to what he sees behind-the-scenes.

“I feel like he likes the f****** media,” Holland said at UFC 279 media day. Holland said that he feels like he does extra street s*** only when there is media around.

“He doesn’t do anything else. He wants to have fist bumps with you and be your friend when you’re not there. When you guys are around, then all of a sudden he’s like, ‘Rawr, I’ll rip your f****** head off.’

” You ain’t making s*** of your dog. Let’s face it. Let’s be real. You would like a regular paycheck .”

Chimaev is set to face Nate Diaz in UFC 279’s non-title main event. The 28-year-old Chechen-born fighter has made a big splash early in his UFC career, riding a 5-0 start to MMA Fighting’s No. 3 welterweight ranking and the verge of title contention.

Chimaev and Holland have had multiple incidents during that time, including a alleged hotel run-in in late 2020 followed by Holland criticizing how Chimaev handled his brush with COVID-19. Chimaev even responded to Holland’s latest comments on Wednesday, asking on Instagram whether Holland forgot “that last slap I gave you at the hotel” and posing the question to Holland of whether he wanted another.

For now, though, both men have their own assignments at UFC 279. Although “Trailblazer”, acknowledges that Chimaev will likely beat Diaz in the end, he won’t surprise Chimaev believing too much in his hype.

“Nothing’s ever locked in 100 percent,” Holland told MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin. “If somebody shows up to fight and the other guy shows up thinking he’s already got the fight in the bag, it could easily go the other way. It’s part of the fighting game.

“Diaz. People are dismissing him, but he is rocking the champ. He had the champ on wobble legs. In the final round of the fight, he was seen on street corner. He is a tough fighter and a great striker. Chimaev has a great wrestling style. Diaz is a very great grappler. Diaz is a great grappler and can really do some damage. So I would never completely write off Diaz.

“On paper 100 percent Chimaev ought to win this fight,” Holland said. “But as fighters we tend to get a little big-headed, we think we have everything in the bag. That could be the one problem.”