Earlier this month, Rakhmonov turned in the best performance of his UFC career when he knocked out Carlston Harris with a spinning hook kick and follow-up ground-and-pound. The finish was the 15th of Rakhmonov’s 15-fight career and earned him his first UFC Performance of the Night bonus. It also only further any ingrained the comparisons between Rakhmonov and Chimaev. But though many fighters might enjoy being compared to the 2020 Breakout Fighter of the Year, Rakhmonov wishes the comparisons would stop.
“I get annoyed because I’m not Khamzat, I’m Shavkat,” Rakhmonov said through his translator on The MMA Hour. “This is a question I get asked the most, when are we going to fight. Time will show. Right now I’m just being annoyed with this question a lot.”
Though Rakhmonov may be annoyed by the comparisons, there are undeniably certain similarities between the two men. Both men are 27 years old and undefeated in their MMA careers, with 100-percent finishing rates. Both men were highly touted prospects before making their UFC debuts in 2020, and since then, both men have looked dominant inside the octagon.
However, while Chimaev currently has his sights set on earning a title shot as soon as possible, Rakhmonov is content to work himself up the welterweight ranks, saying that he hopes to face Michel Pereira next.
“I think he’s a very exciting fighter,” Rakhmonov said. “He’s a very interesting fighter who likes to play with his opponents, and I just wanted to showcase myself, that I can shut him down and I can finish him. He wouldn’t be able to play with me like that.”
Pereira is not ranked but is a fan-favorite for his flashy fighting style and is currently on a four-fight winning streak. Periera last fought in January, picking up a unanimous decision win over Andre Fialho at UFC 270. As a practicing Muslim and with Ramadan right around the corner, Rakhmonov is hoping the UFC can book the matchup for this summer.
“End of June or beginning of July would be perfect,” Rakhmonov said.