After an extremely dominant start to his UFC career, there is a lot of hyper around Khamzat Chimaev. However Ben Askren is not sold on his skills, and urges him to be cautious in his upcoming fight.
When Chimaev burst into the UFC, he decimated two opponents in two different weight classes, doing so in record time. He blew through his foes in a way that got the UFC brass, as well as the fanbase, buzzing with the idea of his potential. It even has Dana White making exceptions to traditional matchmaking models, booking him for two fights at once.
Ben Askren Unsure About Khamzat Chimaev
The first opponent on Khamzat Chimaev’s schedule is Gerald Meerschaert, in this weekend’s Fight Night card. Gerald just so happens to be friends with retired UFC fighter Ben Askren, so naturally the Funky one was asked about his thoughts on the matchup. Speaking with Submission Radio, Ben explained that Chimaev has looked good so far, but that does not mean he will be able to sustain this success.
“I think the hard part about is we saw (Chimaev) twice in the UFC, but the first guy he fought, John Phillips, was 1-4 in the UFC,” Askren said. “So he was very unsuccessful. And the second guy he fought was a new addition to the UFC, so he has not won a UFC fight. So it’s like, okay well he definetly smashed these guys, there’s no doubt about that. But are these guys Gerald Meerschaert level of competition, and the answer to that is no, they’re definitely not. Sometimes people can look great against guys who aren’t that good, and when they step up the level of competition it’s a lot harder.
“So I don’t really know what to expect out of Chimaev. I know Gerald’s really good, he’s really tough. But I don’t know about Chimaev yet.”
Ben Askren knows a thing or two about struggling with a step up in competition. He went undefeated before signing with the UFC, but then retired after two back-to-back losses and a single controversial win. As far as how this fight play out though, Ben thinks that Gerald should have enough of a well-rounded skillset to win the contest.
“Gerald’s really hard to submit, he’s hard to control,” he explained. “He never wrestled but has fairly solid wrestling. So one of things I can see happening for sure, is Chimaev comes out like a ball of fire and isn’t able to do the damage, and isn’t able to get the submissions. Then Gerald starts taking over as the fight moves on. I could see that happening 100%.”
Ben Askren definetly has a point, in that there are still a ton of unknowns about the skills of Khamzat Chimaev. However a lot of those questions have the potential to be answered this weekend, when the Dagestani faces Gerald Meerschaert.