Back in Dec. 2015, it was time for McGregor to back up his words. He went into his showdown with Jose Aldo as the interim UFC Featherweight Champion. Aldo held the main gold and hadn’t been beaten under the UFC banner.
It only took McGregor 13 seconds to shock the world. He knocked out Aldo to become the undisputed 145-pound kingpin and his popularity took off.
Khamzat Chimaev Inspired By McGregor-Aldo
A young Khamzat Chimaev was watching McGregor make history. During an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Chimaev said that at that moment back in late 2015, he thought to himself, “Why not me?”
“I see the guys knock him out and I was thinking, ‘If that guy did that sh*t then [why can’t I?]. Mentally I’m stronger than him, my body’s bigger than him.’ I was feeling if at that time just meeting him outside I can break him and if he makes that money, why not me?”
Fighting From Day 1
Chimaev is viewed as a stalwart in the Allstars Training Center in Sweden but he got off on the wrong foot. On his first day at the gym, he got into a fight.
“I was boxing, sparring and was doing good sparring with the guys. There was water on the mats, I just [slipped] on one knee and he still punched me. I go up and start to fight him. I took off my gloves and kicked his ass, took him down. Nobody knows me here and the guys were together. One guy was screaming, ‘Oh, f*ck him,’ like bad things. And I said, ‘Okay, guys come on. We’ll go to the bathroom.”
Cooler heads did prevail as no one took Chimaev’s offer to fight in the bathroom. Everyone was separated in short order.
Chimaev is set for the biggest bout of his pro MMA career. He will take on Gilbert Burns on the main card of UFC 273 on April 9.