Khamzat Chimaev thinks Alex Pereira is easy work.
“Borz” has made quick work of all but one of his six UFC opponents since joining the promotion in 2020, and he expects that the reigning middleweight champion would fall along those lines. This past November, Pereira claimed that Chimaev turned down a bout at 205 pounds that would have taken place at UFC 283 the following January,
According to Chimaev, it was the UFC who shot down the idea.
“I told them for the [middleweight] belt, so then UFC said — I only spoke with Sean Shelby about that fight,” Chimaev said. “Sean Shelby first says, ‘Yes, brother, let’s try it.’ Then he went back the day after and said, ‘No, brother, we’ll fight Colby first and then we’ll see.’ I said, ‘OK.’ After that, we didn’t speak about that fight with anybody.
“Then [Pereira] said I should fight at 205 or something. The UFC doesn’t want to see you [Pereira] fight [having just won the middleweight belt] only now and you go up and fight in a different weight class and no belt. And I’m from 170 and he’s from 185 and we fight at 205? It makes sense? That’s why maybe the UFC didn’t call me about that fight. I don’t know why they didn’t call. I was ready to fight in Brazil. It doesn’t matter a different weight class, which weight class he wanted, he’s the easiest fight for me in the UFC.”
Asked for clarification on calling Pereira “the easiest fight,” Chimaev didn’t mince words.
“In my career,” Chimaev said. “First round, first minute. Easy. No punch, nothing.”
Pereira surprised many this past November when he became the UFC’s middleweight champion in just his eighth pro bout. The two-division kickboxing champion defeated Adesanya by fifth-round knockout at UFC 281, giving him three combat sports victories over “The Last Stylebender” after previously besting him twice in kickboxing.
They are now set for a fourth meeting at UFC 287 on April 8, where Chimaev expects Adesanya to finally score that elusive win over Pereira — especially if Adesanya is able to turn the fight into a grappling contest.
“I don’t think [he beats Adesanya],” Chimaev said. “If Israel trains just wrestling in this training camp, he will beat him easy. That guy has zero wrestling. Yes, UFC likes that crazy guy, he’s playing like his face is always serious. Why he play that much? I don’t like that guy. And he has zero wrestling. Who’d they give him, who’s a wrestler in his career?
“The one guy not in the UFC, I don’t know where it is, [if he’s even still] fighting or not, he lost against that guy from Brazil. I watched that fight. That fighter is almost amateur and he beat him. He lost against this guy because the guy clinched him and tried to wrestle with him and make him tired. Of course, if you’re a kickboxer and you just do kickboxing matches in the cage with the small glove, yeah you’re better in striking, you do your thing, and you win the fight. If you fight with somebody who wrestles with you-Most guys, Dolidze’s going to win against him. Jack Hermansson’s going to win against him. Most other guys are going to win against him easy because we’re wrestlers, it’s different.”
Chimaev has two rumored dates in mind for his 2023 campaign, a return to Sweden in July and then a card in Abu Dhabi in October. If Pereira or UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards still have gold around their waists by October, Chimaev sees a scenario where those matchups happen.
“I don’t want to wait, but I feel they want to put me against somebody [in Abu Dhabi],” Chimaev said. “Maybe Pereira, maybe Leon, we will see. I feel like that, but I don’t know.”