Surging UFC prospect Khamzat Chimaev believes he’s the next big thing at welterweight and middleweight, with the dual-division fighter teasing of possible fights with Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya.
Despite only making his UFC debut in July, Chimaev has already won three straight fights and believes he is destined to become the next simultaneous two-division champion.
Speaking to Dan Hardy in a recent interview, the 26-year-old Swedish-Russian powerhouse said he has the knockout power to dethrone welterweight king Usman as well as the wrestling to shut down middleweight champ Israel Adesanya. Chimaev also believes Paulo Costa was ‘scared’ of Adesanya at UFC 253 and can’t understand why the Brazilian shied away from ‘The Last Stylebender’ after months of trash talk.
“He’s a good fighter but doesn’t have that knockout punch like I have and doesn’t have wrestling like me,” Chimaev said of Usman (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock) “What is he going to do? If I do my hard work in the gym, nobody can beat me in the fight.”
“I think Paulo Costa was scared in this fight [against Adesanya at UFC 253],” he added. “I don’t know why people are scared to go in the cage and fight. In the gym, everybody tough, hard sparring but when it comes to the cage, they are being chicken. I don’t understand this mentality.
“He’s [Adesanya] good in the standup but nobody did any wrestling with him. Yoel Romero, he only threw three or four punches in the standup. I can beat this guy. How is he going to come up from under me if I take him down? I don’t think he will. I’m going to beat his face.”
Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) will return to the octagon on Dec. 19 to take on British welterweight Leon Edwards in the UFC Fight Night 186 main event at the UFC APEX center in Las Vegas, Nevada.