One of the hottest prospects in all of MMA, Khamzat Chimaev has been on an absolute tear since debuting with the UFC in July 2020 and defeating John Phillips via submission at the 1:12 mark of round two. Ten days later, he stepped in on short notice against Rhys McKee and earned his second straight first-round finish, this time by technical knockout. In September, a 17-second win against Gerald Meerschaert would be his final fight for over a year due to a long bout with and recovery from COVID-19.
Chimaev returned at UFC 267 in October and dominated fellow contender Li Jingliang earning his fourth stoppage in as many fights. Since then, the MMA community has been chomping at the bit for more of Chimaev. With reports of one more fight before the end of the year, fans have been eagerly anticipating an announcement. In the meantime, “Borz” has been active on Twitter, calling out a slew of potential opponents, including the one and only, Conor McGregor.
Laying Down a Challenge
“Lets make Big drama show,” said Chimaev on Twitter accompanied by a picture of himself and McGregor at separate weigh-ins. Not long after, McGregor responded on Twitter in a now deleted tweet. “Bratha, no problem. I appreciate you reaching out to the team in 2018 to come and help me beat up the little scared pigeon b*tch. Chechnya knows! F*ck those eagles mma p*ssies, we are Akhmat MMA! Smash them up we will! Let’s go! The Mac and Akhmat! We take no sh*t! Never peace.”
McGregor’s comments appear to confirm that Chimaev had reached out to his camp to help with the preparation for his bout against retired UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. At the root of the beef between Chimaev and Khabib is Ramzan Kadyrov, a central figure in the world of Russian MMA, though Chimaev has downplayed the perceived tension between the two fighters. “I didn’t talk with Khabib. He didn’t talk with me. I don’t know this guy. He doesn’t know me, and everything is normal. He is Muslim. I am Muslim, we brothers.”
While a bout between “Borz” and “Notorious” is a fun fantasy booking conversation, the fight is unlikely to come to fruition as the UFC’s goal is to work Chimaev up the welterweight rankings for an eventual showdown with reigning champion Kamaru Usman. While not confirmed, conversations are taking place for Chimaev’s return before the end of the year. His opponent is rumored to be #2 ranked welterweight Gilbert Burns. Nothing has been made official, but with UFC 269 less than a month away, one would expect an announcement soon.
No timetable has been set for Conor McGregor’s comeback bout. Recent reports have stated a possible Summer 2022 return. Still, McGregor’s focus is recovering from a devastating ankle injury suffered at UFC 264 and calling out seemingly everyone on social media.
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