Khamzat Chimaev is one of the more interesting characters in the UFC right now. The undefeated Chechen-Swede blasted onto the scene this summer when he pulled off three victories in two months inside the Fight Island cage.
Since then, Dana White, Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov and others have been talking up ‘Borz’ as a special fighter and a future champion at either welterweight and middleweight.
It seems as though Chimaev’s next fight will be at 170 lbs, but it’s unclear who will be selected as his dance partner. Before he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert the UFC said they had already planned to book Chimaev versus Demain Maia, but the Brazilian has seemingly pumped the breaks on those plans.
Fights against Stephen Thompson and Chris Weidman have also been rumoured and then debunked. If Chimaev is to be believed, that’s because both those fighters turned down the chance to fight him.
One man who certainly wants the fight with Chimaev is 10th ranked welterweight Neil Magny. He told Chimaev on twitter that he wanted to fight him. Chimaev seemed to accept the offer. However, since then there has been no further developments on a Chimaev vs. Magny showdown. And Magny told James Lynch of Line Movement that he’s not the reason for the hold-up.
“I thought this fight would be as simple as two guys agreed, get a date set and move forward, but it seems like this fight with him is taking a lot longer to get set than fights have in the past,” said Magny. “I’m not sure if it’s just him trying to hold-out for the highest bidder as far as picking out the fights that get him the highest ranked opponent or the opponent that’s going to help propel his career the furthest or whatever it is, but there definitely seems to be some hold up on his end as far as being able to commit to an actual opponent and get the fight set for a specific date.”
Magny said that he has not heard from the UFC about a fight with Chimaev, rather he just hoped the promotion would recognize his and Chimaev’s verbal agreement and then sent out contracts to make the bout a reality.
With Magny champing at the bit to fight Chimaev, the 31-fight veteran has found it funny to hear so much discourse around Chimaev being a difficult fighter to find an opponent for.
“That part definitely caught me off guard a bit,” said Magny. “Especially when you have Dana White having interviews like, ‘Hey Chimaev is one of the hardest guys to book out there and no one wants to fight this guy” and he turns around and gives me credit for wanting to step up and here we are a few days later and there’s still nothing in concrete/set in stone for this fight to happen.
“I’m just like, well what’s the hold-up? You guys all said that no one is willing to fight this guy, but I’ve already stood up and said I’m willing to take this fight, what else do I have to do to make this thing happen? I’m ready to move forward with this fight one-hundred-percent.”
In addition to expressing his eagerness to take the fight no one else seemingly wants (according to Dana White), Magny also said he believes he stacks up well against the 9-0 fighter with a ferocious reputation.
“I feel like I match up well against this guy,” he said. “I have a tendency of taking guys who a lot of people in the division fear and making them look very human. Hector Lombard was a guy who a lot of people feared before I fought him ... Robbie Lawler, another fighter, who most guys go in there and they leave the cage with their face dismantled, looking unrecognizable. I went in there with him for 15 minutes and walked out without a scratch on me.”
“I definitely like going into these fights that most people try and shy away from and take on the boogeyman, the guy that a lot of people in the division are afraid to go up against,” continued Magny. “And I feel like Chimaev is that guy. He’s relatively new to the sport. He hasn’t really been tested against competition. So a lot of people think you’re putting your legacy, your rank on the line fighting a guy like that. But I like that kind of risk. I like to go out there and better myself and be fully confident that I’m going to come away with the victory.”
Over the past few years Magny has been one of the more active fighters on the UFC roster. Since joining the promotion off the back of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson in 2013 he’s had an astonishing 23 fights inside the Octagon. He’s won 17 of those bouts, including victories over Kelvin Gastelum, Johny Hendricks, Carlos Condit and Li Jingliang.