“Terrifying,” “phenom,” “a problem,” “Khabib 2.0.” Those are just some of the names being attributed to Khamzat Chimaev. Whatever he is, he’s here, and he’s taking the UFC by storm.
By Nick Stavas
UFC President Dana White may have stumbled upon his newest prized possession.
Khamzat Chimaev recorded consecutive incredible stoppage wins in his first two UFC fights and is arguably the hottest name in the promotion right now.
When Chimaev made his debut on July 15 against John Phillips on Fight Island, many believed he had potential to put himself on the map quickly. He did that, and then some, dominating the entire duration of the fight until he submitted Phillips with a D’arce choke in the second round.
Chimaev wasn’t satisfied.
Chimaev and his team pleaded with White to find him another opponent. As he usually does, White obliged.
Just 11 days later, Northern Ireland’s Rhys McKee stepped up to take on the 26-year-old phenom. Chimaev made quick work of McKee, taking him down in the first 10 seconds and unleashing a vicious array of ground strikes to earn the finish in just over three minutes.
A 2-0 start in the UFC isn’t unprecedented, but the turnaround on which Chimaev recorded both wins is, as he set the record for the fastest turnaround victory in UFC history.
Not only that, but he did it in emphatic fashion. Chimaev out-landed both opponents by a combined 192-2 strike margin. Such domination is extremely rare, especially this early in a fighter’s career.
Although his UFC campaign is still young, Chimaev is no stranger to high level competition. Before signing with the UFC, Chimaev competed in the Brave Combat Federation circuit based out of the Middle East.
He finished each of his five BCF fights in the first round. In fact, not a single opponent has ever made it past the second round against Chimaev.
Rumors swirled around social media that Chimaev could crack the top 15 in next week’s updated UFC welterweight rankings, some even going as far as predicting a top 10 rating.
While his talent speaks for itself, Chimaev clearly displayed the confidence he possesses after his win over McKee.
“I’ll smash everybody,” Chimaev told ESPN’s Dan Hardy in a post-fight interview. “It doesn’t matter. I can smash everybody. How many fighters are in my division? I can smash the whole division.”
According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, Chimaev is already targeting UFC 252 on August 15 in Las Vegas for his next appearance in the Octagon. Chimaev’s camp is currently in talks with White and the UFC to make it happen.
Three fights in less than a month is essentially unparalleled, but given the fact that Chimaev took such little damage in his first two fights, it’s a realistic possibility.
Chimaev will need to obtain a United States visa in order to make the trip to UFC 252, which could be a tall task considering the event is just 19 days away. Not to mention White would need to find an opponent willing to climb into the cage with Chimaev.
While the logistics may be a hurdle, there are clearly no issues with Chimaev’s willingness to fight.
“Give me one hour, I’ll fight again tonight,” Chimaev told Hardy after beating McKee. “I’m going to smash everybody… Give me champions, 70 kilos [welterweight], 84 kilos [middleweight], I’ll smash them both in the same day.”