No ranked welterweight is scared of Khamzat Chimaev according to Michael Chiesa.
The unbeaten Chimaev has been on a tear since debuting for the UFC in July and has recently called out a number of ranked welterweights such as Stephen Thompson.
However, like others, Thompson has shown little interest in facing Chimaev due to the fact that he’s unranked and that a win does nothing major for him. That has led to some suggestions that many of these ranked welterweights are scared to fight Chimaev because of his style as well as the fact that they could lose their ranking to him.
But that’s far from the case as Chiesa — who has also been called out by Chimaev in the past — explained.
“Khamzat, from what I’ve seen, the guy is legit,” Chiesa said during media day on Wednesday. “… But you can see things from Wonderboy’s side too. He’s earned his spot, he’s put his time in, he’s fought for the title a few times. … Khamzat’s a tough fight for pretty much anybody at 170 pounds. Doesn’t mean he’s not beatable.
“You’ve got to think about it like this. He beats a guy, like a veteran – let’s say, hypothetically, he beats a ‘Wonderboy.’ Now, it’s lucrative. Now, it’s like, ‘hell yeah.’ Now, he’s proven he’s the real thing. … He beats me, he takes my spot. If I beat him, they’re like, ‘oh, it’s a flash in the pan.’ You know what I mean? I probably don’t move up the rankings either.
“It’s like, dude, I’m trying to fight for a world title. You’ve got to do smart business. … But the guy is legit. I respect his skills. I just don’t know if that’s the fight I want right now. He beats a guy and gets ranked? That’s a different story. I can see why all these guys don’t want to fight him. It’s not that they’re (scared). There’s not a guy on the roster that’s afraid of anybody. When someone says, ‘this Joe Schmo is afraid of John Smith?’ Like f*ck no. … This is also a business. You’ve got to do smart business.”
Chiesa Targeting Early 2021 Return
Chiesa hasn’t competed since a dominant unanimous decision win over Rafael dos Anjos back in January. A big reason is because he had to undergo surgery on his leg which he claimed did not go so well.
Regardless, he is slowly getting back into training and is now targeting a January return next year. As for a potential opponent, he is only looking ahead of himself in the rankings.
“The surgery did not go good,” Chiesa added. “I was on crutches for two months. I haven’t had sparring yet. Just in the last month, I’ve been able to get back rolling and stuff. I’m stilling have some issues but I’d like to think by January I could get in there.
“When you look at the landscape of the division, I’ve got to be on point for whoever I fight next. I’m looking ahead of me. I think I’m going to get a guy ahead of me by the way things are looking. I’ve got to be ready. I’ve got to be on point, 100 percent. That’s the main focus. It’s being healthy.”
Chiesa is 3-0 since moving up to welterweight with wins over Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez and the aforementioned Dos Anjos.