Khamzat Chimaev is a Russian mixed martial artist who competes in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He has been undefeated in his MMA career, with four of his wins coming by submission and six of them by knockout. Khazmat is one of the currently most hyped-up UFC fighters, and for a good reason. Every challenge that has been thrown at him, he accepted and overcame. Let’s take a closer look at what those challenges were.
The Early Days
Khamzat Chimaev was born on May 1, 1994, in Russia, in the Chechen Republic, to be more precise. Khamzat began training in sambo at the age of 16. Khamzat is a Russian National Championships bronze medalist at the junior level.
In 2013, Khamzat relocated to Sweden together with his mother in the hopes of a better future. Khamzat has since then become the Swedish National champion in wrestling three times.
Chimaev was considered to be one of the best freestyle wrestlers in the country. He won the Swedish Freestyle National Championships at 86 kilograms in 2016 and 2017. In 2018 he once again earned a gold medal at the Swedish Freestyle National Championships in the 92 kg weight class. Chimaev also competed in some judo tournaments and a few combat sambo fights.
Chimaev began training in mixed martial arts when he was 23 years old. He works out at Allstar Training Center in Stockholm, where he trains alongside three-time UFC Light Heavyweight Championship challenger Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson said that Chimaev is one of the best fighters he had the pleasure of training with.
Chimaev said that he was motivated to start training in MMA when he watched the McGregor vs. Aldo fight. He started his amateur MMA career in September of 2017, where in his first fight, he defeated future IMMAF World Champion Khaled Laallam. He then won his next two fights, one via submission and the second one via TKO.
Chimaev went on to win his professional debut via TKO before winning another fight in August of 2018 via rear naked choke. He then signed with Brave Combat Federation, where he won his next four fights, three of them in the first round. In 2020, Chimaev signed with the UFC.
UFC Meteoric Rise
Chimaev made his MMA debut in a middleweight fight against John Phillips. He defeated him via submission in the second round and received the Performance of the Night prize for it. Chimaev’s next fight was only ten days later than his previous fight, which he won via TKO. This feat also set a new UFC record for the fastest consecutive wins in modern UFC history. Chimaev then once again accepted a fight on short notice against Gerald Meerschaert, which gave him the title of fastest three-fight winning streak in modern UFC history (66 days).
The Hype train was gaining some serious momentum when one night, it almost got derailed. Chimaev posted on Instagram that he is retiring from MMA; however, this was due to being overly emotional due to a drug he was taking for his lingering Covid-19 side effects.
Chimaev faced if against Li Jingliang on October 30, 2021, at UFC 267, where he put on a show. He picked up Li, held him up in the air, and proceeded to talk to Dana White, saying: “I am the king here. I am here for a long time, and I am going to kill everybody.” He finished Li via a rear-naked choke in the first round.
On April 9, 2022, at UFC 273, Chimaev was going to have his toughest test yet, the previous title challenger and BJJ black belt Gilbert Burns. The fight was a brilliant one, with both fighters showing massive heart and perseverance. The fight ended by a unanimous decision for Chimaev, even tho many outlets believed that the fight wasn’t as one-sided as the scorecards made it appear. The fight was awarded The Fight of the Night award.
Chimaev is set to face Nate Diaz on September 10, 2022, at UFC 279.
Chimaev is relatively close to Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, who has come under fire for his authoritarian rule of the Chechen Republic. This does not do Chimaev any favors. If Chimaev wants to stay the fan favorite, he will need to prove himself not only as a fighter but also as a man of the people.