This weekend Khamzat Chimaev makes his long-awaited return to the UFC, and he’s coming back with big plans. On Saturday, Chimaev takes on his first ranked opponent when he battles Li Jiangling on the main card of UFC 267, and should he win, Chimaev says he will be gunning for the top of the division.
“Now we’re focused on 170 because I gave my word to my coach,” Chimaev told Red Corner MMA. “He said, ‘Listen, now we focus on that.’ Now everyone knows me, who I am, I become famous. Now, just give me fights at 170, take the belt, and then we jump up and take that also....
“I want to fight with everyone, top-10 guys. If I beat 10 guys now and become 20-0, then go up, beat some 20 guys at 84 kilos, now 40-0. We will see what happens. I hope everything goes good.”
Chimaev made his UFC debut last year, dazzling in three fights in the span of two months and earning 2020 Breakout Fighter of the Year honors. Such was the nature of his entry into the UFC that Chimaev was even booked for a fight against third-ranked welterweight contender Leon Edwards in a bout that appeared to be a title eliminator, however, a prolonged battle with COVID-19 took that opportunity away from Chimaev. Now, finally able to return to fighting, Chimaev is hoping his medical delay will not prevent him from getting the bout he is most interested in: a fight with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
“I hope so, but this guy is – how old is he? Like 35?,” Chimaev told UFC Arabia. “He doesn’t have so much time now, but I’m coming for him before he goes.
“I will be best fighter in this game and when I finish I want to be remembered like best fighter in this world, pound-for-pound No. 1 and take the belt. As many as possible, maybe two, maybe three.”
Of course, Usman may not be the man at the top for long as next weekend, “The Nigerian Nightmare” defends his welterweight title in a rematch with top contender Colby Covington at UFC 268. But if Covington is able to wrest the title away from Usman, Chimaev says that’s fine as well. He’ll be happy to take on both men regardless.
“From that fight, I know him,” Chimaev told Red Corner MMA when asked about Covington. “Before, I never see his fights. He’s stupid American bullsh*t boy and we’ll beat him too. Hey, white boy, I’m coming for you too, bro.”
First things first though, Chimaev has to take care of business this weekend. Li Jingliang is currently the number 11 ranked welterweight in the UFC rankings and coming of a spectacular first-round knockout of well-regarded Santiago Ponzinibbio. Most people view “The Leech” as a big leap in competition for Chimaev. But Chimaev remains entirely unconcerned.
“How’s he gonna stop me?” Chimaev said. “He’s normal guy, I’m special guy. (Laughs). Everybody says he’s strong guy, tough opponent, always when I get someone, always people talk. Sometimes my manager brings some guys to the gym and says, ‘ He’s best wrestler, he’s best that’ and I beat these guys.”
UFC 267 takes place this Saturday at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Weight. UFC 267 weigh-in results: Title fights official, Khamzat Chimaev heavy on first attempt.
Off. Damir Ismagulov vs. Magomed Mustafaev off UFC 267 after Ismagulov misses weight by 7.5 pounds.
COVID. Bruce Buffer misses first UFC PPV in 25 years after contracting COVID-19 ahead of UFC 267.
Reaction. Claressa Shields reacts to Jake Paul’s comments following PFL loss: ‘You won’t accomplish 10 percent what I have’.
Highs and lows. Bruno Cappelozza experiences ‘happiest and saddest day of my life’ after winning PFL title without knowing father had died.
UFC 267 Press Conference highlights.
Top finishes from UFC 267 fighters.
Fighter Timeline: Glover Teixeira.
Between the Links. Discussing Vettori-Costa, fixing the PFL, and UFC 267.
UFC Unfiltered. An interview with Islam Makhachev.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
UFC 267 Cold Open.
#UFC267 cold open narrated by @perlmutations@JanBlachowicz vs @GloverTeixeira is FREE on @ESPNPlus Saturday at 2pm ET pic.twitter.com/jnAQHeSmP2— danawhite (@danawhite) October 29, 2021
Big shoutout to @Claressashields real fight real fighter much more props deserved— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) October 28, 2021
Gold medal wrestler at the PFL.
I met some nice people at the @PFLMMA fights last night @junior_cigano @wizkhalifa @GamebredFighter pic.twitter.com/20tsNspTV4— Mensahtamyrastock (@MensahTamStock) October 28, 2021
“If”— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) October 29, 2021
You’re so great, so win Mr. No Mercy. Then talk about this after. Good luck to both of you guys. I look forward to the rematch with either one when I’m 100% healthy. https://t.co/rfvsRfTZI2
Already getting a shot in the booth.
Hyped to be getting a shot on the commentary side of things this weekend with @CFFCMMA https://t.co/Jun0mB3dvn— Chase Hooper (@chase_hooper) October 28, 2021
Run it back.
October 28, 2021
The size difference.
With the champ @theassassinbaby pic.twitter.com/rPAiAy6AWw— Johnny Walker (@JohnnyWalker) October 28, 2021
If John Dalton was a real person, I would have liked to see him fight in UFC 1. pic.twitter.com/ZlXdXiPUg9— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) October 29, 2021
That’s a dope pumpkin.
Happy Halloween pic.twitter.com/GbTanzG4XF— Molly McCann (@MeatballMolly) October 28, 2021
Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.
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