UFC 267: Khamzat Chimaev has 'big respect' for Li Jingliang but he'd never heard of him before

Khamzat Chimaev has 'big respect' for Li Jingliang but he'd never heard of him before

UFC star Khamzat Chimaev admits he has never heard of his opponent Li Jingliang - but that won't stop him from trying to 'smash this guy' on Saturday night.

The UFC welterweight faces the Chinese MMA fighter on the main card of Jan Blachowicz's clash with Glover Teixeira, with the 27-year-old Swede having won every single one of his nine professional fights. 

But 'Borz' dropped a bombshell this week when he revealed he'd never heard of 'The Leech' prior to being drawn against the former Legacy FC champion at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi. 

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"Actually, no," he admitted when asked if he knew anything about his opponent at the pre-fight press conference.

"I didn't know this guy was in the UFC at all and when I heard his name I was like 'what?'

"I saw his highlights, his highlights against Neil Magny, he lost a fight against someone or something.

"I don't like to watch much of my opponents, I'm more focused on what I'm going to do, I don't think about my opponents.

"Like last time I'm just going to go in, smash this guy, don't get punched.

"If you focus on what he's going to do, you may do something, but if you focus on what you're going to do, you're going to do everything, I think."

Khamzat Chimaev celebrates after beating Gerald Meerschaert

Having said that, Chimaev expressed his gratitude to Jingliang for accepting the call while others turned down the chance to face one of the world's most exciting prospects.

If unranked Chimaev wins on Saturday night, he will boast a four-fight winning streak and be deserving of a bout with someone like Leon Edwards

"I respect all my opponents," he explained.

"Because I am nine fights in UFC, nine fights, nine finishes, nine stoppages, nobody, and he takes this fight with me. 

"He's a higher rank than I am, I don't know if I'm ranked or not, and he take this fight.

"Big respect for him, thanks."

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However, he doesn't think Jingliang will pose too much of a threat to his hopes of facing one of Kamaru Usman or Colby Covington in the near future, despite his impressive skillset. 

“I don’t think so,” he added.

“Last time I fight Gerald Meerschaert, they say, ‘He owns the most submissions in the game,’ always people going to talk that somebody is better than me.

"I know who I am. I’m gonna go take his head.

I'm going to eat him up like I do always. Nine fights, nine finishes."

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