Is Khamzat Chimaev a ‘real gangster’? Only when the cameras are around, says Kevin Holland.
The UFC welterweight returns for a short-notice fight against Daniel Rodriguez at UFC 279 on Saturday night. Sitting atop the pay-per-view event are Chimaev and Nate Diaz, two men whom Holland has previously expressed interest in sharing the Octagon with.
Though he has no animosity, Holland will not shy away from saying how he feels about either of them, especially Chimaev. The ‘Trailblazer’ echoed the same sentiments as Jake Shields and Paulo Costa, who were involved in a now-viral run-in with ‘Borz’ at the UFC Performance Institute recently. Both men have called Chimaev a ‘fake gangster’ for how different his persona is in front of and behind cameras, and Holland agreed.
“I feel like he likes the f—ing media,” said Holland (video provided by MMA Fighting). “I feel like he only does this extra wannabe street sh*t when the media is around. Other than that, he doesn’t do it. I mean, when you guys aren’t around he wants to do fist bumps and he wants to be your best friend. When you guys are around, then all of a sudden he’s like, ‘Ahh, I’ll rip your f—ing head off.’
“You ain’t ripping s—t off, dog,” continued Holland. “Let’s be real. He wants a paycheck, just like the rest of these guys around here.”
Holland and Chimaev have also had their own run-in in the past. The Chechen confronted Holland for comments regarding his harrowing experience with COVID-19, which led to a minor altercation at the fighter hotel ahead of UFC Vegas 11 in late 2020. Chimaev referred to the incident in response to Holland, telling the American not to forget the ‘last slap I gave you at the hotel’ before offering another one.
Offer aside, Holland still sees Chimaev getting his hand raised against Diaz.
“He should win, on paper,” said Holland.
UFC 279 goes down on Sat., Sept. 10, live at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.