Over the course of the last few years, you could argue there hasn’t been a scarier newcomer in the Ultimate Fighting Championship than Khamzat Chimaev.
The Chechen sensation came flying out of the gate with two wins in a 10-day span, breaking the promotion’s record for quickest back-to-back victories inside the Octagon. While he’s struggled with some health problems since then, it hasn’t prevented him from picking up three more emphatic wins to leave him in an incredibly comfortable position in the welterweight division.
His latest outing earlier this year saw him outlast Gilbert Burns in an absolute classic, seemingly putting ‘Borz’ in pole position for a crack at the 170-pound title.
Instead, though, he’s been matched up against UFC legend Nate Diaz in a contest that will serve as the final fight on the Stockton king’s contract.
Some have wondered why Chimaev would take such a risk but in a recent interview, the man himself gave a brief summary of his thought process.
“Actually, I don’t need to fight that guy, but I just fight the guy for fun. I could just wait for the title, I’m in the top three, but I took that fight. The guy isn’t tough but he’s famous. Everybody loves him and everybody talks about this gangster, all that s***, but I eat gangsters for breakfast. F*** that guy, bro.”
Fight night awaits
It’s not an exaggeration to suggest this is one of the biggest fights of the year not just for the UFC, but for mixed martial arts as a whole.
Diaz is hoping to go down swinging as he prepares to test the waters with free agency, whereas Chimaev knows that another decisive triumph will almost certainly guarantee him a shot at the UFC welterweight championship.
Khamzat is the clear favourite, but underestimating someone like Nate Diaz at the elite level can so easily be a mistake.
This highly anticipated meeting will go down in the fight capital of Las Vegas on September 10.