Khamzat Chimaev has clapped back at his critics, who undermine his wins by accusing him of fighting below-par competition.
Chimaev has finished all of his four UFC opponents, with his most recent victory coming against Li Jingliang by first round submission at UFC 267, while his first three wins came against John Phillips, Rhys McKee, and Gerald Meerschaert. The Chechen-Swede is scheduled to face Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 in a title eliminator next.
Khamzat Chimaev On Jones, Khabib, And McGregor
Despite the exceptional start to his UFC career, some fans believe Chimaev will struggle against higher-ranked opponents as he hasn’t been tested yet. ‘Borz’ doesn’t agree with this argument, however.
Speaking on Block Access’ ‘Smesh Bros’ Blog (as transcribed The Mac Life), the 27-year-old said even MMA greats like Jones, Khabib, and Conor McGregor fought subpar competition during the start of their UFC careers. If anything, Chimaev thinks he’s had a better start to his career than ‘Bones’.
“Who [went] in the cage: 10 fights, 10 finishes?” Chimaev said. “The guys tell like, ‘Oh, he didn’t fight this guy, he didn’t fight that guy.’ But the guys who are the best guys – Jon Jones: His first four fights in UFC, he gets the punch. I didn’t get the punch. We don’t say: [Jones’] first fights, he didn’t get the best ones – the guys, you know, like, super good guys. Nobody. Conor [McGregor] didn’t get that – crazy good guys in his first fights. Nobody. Khabib [Nurmagomedov] didn’t get crazy good guys. I just need the time.”
Chimaev does have a strong reason to believe that he’s had a better start to his UFC career than Jones, and even Khabib and McGregor, because he’s only absorbed one strike in his first four UFC fights, whereas the Albuquerque native absorbed 87 and the Dagestani and ‘The Notorious’ both absorbed 54 strikes in their first four UFC bouts.
Will Khamzat Chimaev surpass Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov?