Khamzat Chimaev has been a sensation since making his UFC debut in July of 2020, picking up four dominant wins and earning performance bonuses for every one of them. But astute fighters like Anthony Smith had been hearing about Chimaev for a long time before he ever stepped foot in the Octagon.
As a guest on Michael Bisping’s podcast, fellow UFC commentator Smith stated that he had been hearing training stories about Khamzat tearing up a couple of UFC light heavyweights that he has trained with for years - Ilir Latifi and Alexander Gustafsson (transcription via Sportskeeda):
“Other people said it first, so now I can say it out loud. I’ve heard the stories of Chimaev for years, like a couple years before he was even in the UFC. I remember hearing his name, some young kid that’s ragdolling Ilir Latifi and Gustafsson down in Sweden. Even when he finally made it to the UFC, beat a couple of guys and looked really good, I kept that to myself until other people had told the story like, ‘Hey man, I’ve been hearing the stories about this kid beating the sh-t out of those guys for a long time.”
The 27-year-old phenom is coming off a first-round submission win over Li Jingliang in October, and has not been booked for another fight as of yet.