Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev wants to be the Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali of MMA

UFC welterweight and middleweight contender Khamzat Chimaev says that he wants to be the Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali of mixed martial arts.

Chimaev turned heads last year on Fight Island when he made his UFC debut. In his first fight in the promotion, the Swede finished John Phillips via stoppage in an absolutely flawless performance. He then returned to the cage 10 days later and he stopped Rhys McKee. About a month later, Chimaev once again returned to the cage and he finished veteran Gerald Meerschaert in just 17 seconds when he one-punch KO’d him. It was an incredible start to what looks to be an amazing career in the UFC.

Unfortunately for Chimaev, after a fast start inside the Octagon, he started to get some really bad luck. A fight with Leon Edwards fell through in December when the Brit tested positive for COVID-19, and then their re-booking in January fell apart when Chimaev himself tested positive for the coronavirus. Another re-booking in March once again fell through due to Chimaev’s COVID-19 issues, health issues that saw him considering retirement because he was legitimately too sick to train.

Speaking to ESPN recently, Chimaev said that he is finally healthy and ready to come back and, in his own words, “smash everybody.” Despite his layoff, is extremely confident in his skills and believes he can be the Tyson or Ali of MMA.

“If you are sick, you cannot think about [a] fight. I was thinking, ‘One month, sick. Then still, two months. When am I going to be finished with this s—?’ I’m healthy now, hungry again. I want to get back and smash somebody and make money,” Chimaev said.

“…I only did [three fights in the UFC]. I didn’t show who I am. People still talk, ‘Ah, he beat bulls— guys.’ That makes me [feel] inside somewhere — now I have to show these … people who I am and smash everybody, take my belt. I am MMA Mike Tyson. MMA Muhammad Ali. I’m going to show everybody.”

How far do you think Khamzat Chimaev can go in this sport?

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Adam Martin
MMA journalist, podcast host, and handicapper for,, and MMAOB Daily Podcast host. Join me LIVE @ 5 pm EST every Monday for my live free podcast. Over 10 years of experience writing about MMA. I love this sport.