Khamzat Chimaev believes he is getting unfairly scrutinized for his level of competition in the UFC thus far.
Chimaev, undoubtedly the most interesting prospect in MMA is 2020. Debuting in 2020, Chimaev ran through John Phillips, Rhys McKee, and Gerald Meerschaert in the span of two months and claiming MMA Fighting’s Breakout Fighter of the Year honors. After being sidelined by COVID for much of 2021, Chimaev returned to action last October where he was once again dominant, submitting Jingliang Li inside the first round.
With all 10 of his career wins coming by stoppage, and with Chimaev having absorbed only one significant strike in the UFC so far, the 27-year old Swedish fighter is believed by many to be a future champion. Some have questioned the opposition that Chimaev has encountered since his rapid rise to superstardom. Chimaev claims it’s unfair, as other prominent names such Jon Jones or Khabib Nurmagomedov did not face the same criticism and that he is more dominant than them.
“Who (went) in the cage: 10 fights, 10 finishes?” Chimaev said on a BlockAsset “Smesh Bros” video (h/t The Mac Life). “The guys tell like, ‘Oh, he didn’t fight this guy, he didn’t fight that guy,’ but the guys who’s the best guys – Jon Jones, his first four fights in UFC, he get the punch. The punch didn’t come to me. We don’t say, his first fights, he didn’t get the best ones – the guys, you know, like, super good guys. Nobody. Conor McGregor didn’t win that fight, although he was a great fighter. Nobody. Khabib (Nurmagomedov), didn’t become crazy great guys. I need time .”
Chimaev will get his chance to silence the doubters next month when he faces fourth-ranked welterweight Gilbert Burns in a featured welterweight fight at UFC 273. If he wins, Chimaev would be fighting for the title of welterweight.