All aboard! With the Khamzat Chimaev hype prepare at full steam, who’s subsequent for the UFC’s newest star? — RT Sport Information


Chechen-born Swede Khamzat Chimaev underscored his glowing reputation with a first-round knockout of the expert Gerald Meerschaert in Las Vegas on Saturday evening time. Can anyone stop ‘The Wolf’ in his pursuit of UFC gold?

Chimaev carved out a singular slice of UFC historic previous inside the bout, turning into the quickest fighter to register three wins inside the group (66 days) in his 17-second destruction of Meerschaert, and inside the course of together with further ballast to the reputation he strong with two wins inside the span of merely 10 days on ‘Fight Island’ this earlier summer season.

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Extraordinarily, Chimaev – known as ‘Borz’, which interprets from his native Chechen as ‘The Wolf’ – now has additional UFC fights (3) than entire strikes absorbed in these contests (2) and with at least one other bout deliberate sooner than the tip of 2020, the undefeated 26-year-old appears primed to announce his candidacy as a bona fide title challenger at 170lbs, or in all probability even a step elevated on the scales.  

The UFC had positioned expert submission ace Demian Maia as the following man up for Chimaev, though UFC boss Dana White second-guessed the proposed matchup when speaking to the media in Las Vegas, saying that former world title challenger Maia “might be not ready” for the relative UFC novice.

That’s what everyone seems to be saying,” White acknowledged when requested if Chimaev must be fast-tracked to title rivalry.

Now, this man is explicit man, it’s true. All the fights that I’ve had, you’ll have guys be like yeah I wanna flip spherical fast and let me see how I actually really feel tomorrow, let me converse to my workforce. This man is like I wanna wrestle proper right here as soon as extra on Fight Island. So I turned him spherical.

“I known as everybody and acknowledged I’m going to do it, we’re going to point out this little one spherical. We flip him spherical, he fights as soon as extra and does it as soon as extra. Now it’s like I wanna come to Vegas and I wanna wrestle in Vegas. I’ve under no circumstances expert this with anyone…not even remotely shut.

“He could wrestle sooner than Maia, then wrestle Maia too. Maia is simply not going to be ready in time for this little one.”

If not Maia, then who? Chimaev has to this point displayed a ravenous urge for meals for opponents and would, if allowed by the UFC and the numerous commissions, compete every weekend judging by just a few of his statements since he stepped into the limelight in Abu Dhabi with vicious exhibits in opposition to John Phillips and Rhys McKee. 

Battle-hardened Meerschaert was meant as an enormous uptick in opponents nonetheless Chimaev handed the check out with flying colors, showcasing his one-punch knockout power after beforehand dominating on the underside in his two prior fights – a not insignificant accomplishment in opposition to a fighter tied for primarily probably the most submission wins in UFC middleweight historic previous. 

As has occurred before now when UFC fighters have displayed star-making experience inside the octagon of their early appearances (assume Conor McGregor), converse will now flip to how Chimaev will fare in opposition to the welterweight divisional elite. Saturday’s wrestle took place at middleweight, nonetheless it is thought that Chimaev will focus his efforts on the 170lbs fold – a division at current dominated by wrestlers, one factor which presents a swathe of tantalizing potential scraps. 

At this stage inside the welterweight timeline, Kamaru Usman is the particular person with the aim on his once more. Usman is scheduled to face Gilbert Burns in December, and with Colby Covington victorious in opposition to Tyron Woodley on Saturday it seems in all probability that the UFC will attempt to e-book the much-hyped grudge match between him and Jorge Masvidal.

If the UFC are definitely keen to actually check out Chimaev’s mettle in opposition to a excessive contender, one man appears to make some sense: Leon Edwards.

The British fighter has flip into one factor of the odd man out inside the UFC welterweight title picture no matter profitable a strong eight fights in succession. Since his latest wrestle, last summer season in opposition to former UFC champion Rafael Dos Anjos, Edwards has seen potential clashes with Woodley and Usman fall by the wayside because of affect of the continued Covid-19 pandemic – so much to the Birmingham man’s chagrin.

From Edwards’ perspective, turning into the particular person at hand Chimaev his first occupation defeat would the surest signal however that his private championship credentials keep intact. Ditto if Chimaev had been to complete Edwards’ prolonged profitable streak. 

However when not Edwards, then who? 

Michael Chiesa has been effervescent under the radar recently, notching up three straight wins in opposition to Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez and Dos Anjos to as quickly as as soon as extra announce himself as a danger, this time inside the welterweight fold. ‘Maverick’ possesses an particularly aggressive ground recreation and, similar to Chimaev, is a tall, angular striker on the ft. Ranked eighth on the earth, Chiesa might be a sizeable check out of Chimaev’s intentions of breaking into the very best 10. 

Undefeated in his 5 UFC bouts to this point, the Twelfth-ranked Geoff Neal might be one different candidate. The 30-year-old stays and never utilizing a wrestle scheduled after being compelled to withdraw from an August wrestle with Neil Magny, and is a fighter with a reputation amongst his pals as being a darkish horse inside the division. 

Or, if a check out of the concussive KO experience Chimaev displayed on Saturday evening time is required, then possibly Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson is likely to be thought-about. The vastly-experienced kickboxer stays one among many pound-for-pound most interesting strikers inside the UFC and would immediately signify a very powerful stand-up danger that Chimaev has confronted to this point in his nonetheless youthful occupation.

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Whoever Chimaev ends up going via subsequent, be it Demian Maia, Leon Edwards, Chiesa, Neal, Thompson or one different sacrificial lamb marched into the cage, it seems attainable that this Big Harmful Wolf is about to knock on Kamaru Usman’s door in the long run. 

And judging by the proof inside the cage, Chimaev is on the point of knock Usman’s dwelling down. 

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