Khamzat Chimaev improved to 12-0 in his MMA career with a dominant first-round submission victory over Kevin Holland at UFC 279.
Based on the chorus of boos he received walking out for his co-main event, it’s clear that Chimaev lost a few fans with a series of unprofessional antics and an unapologetic attitude to match. Originally scheduled to face Nate Diaz in the evening’s main event, the Chechnyan wrestler stepped on the scale 7.5 pounds over the welterweight limit, immediately throwing the fight and the entire event into uncertainty.
Chimaev stepped off the scale once his weight was announced with a smile, enraging fans and fighters alike. He followed that up by flipping off the crowd in attendance for the ceremonial weigh-ins that afternoon. Fellow Russian and UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov took notice of Khamzat Chimaev’s antics and immediately called the fighter out, suggesting the lack of Muslims on his team is responsible.
“I recently watched the weigh-in of Khamzat Chimaev,” said Nurmagomedov. “I followed what was happening with his weight and looked at his team. There are no Muslims around him and this is very bad. Because if you are a Muslim, you need good, strong people around you.”
A Former UFC Lightweight Speaks Up For Khamzat Chimaev
While Khamzat Chimaev hasn’t responded to ‘The Eagle’ directly, one member of Chimaev’s team has. Former UFC lightweight Reza Madadi, who trains with ‘Borz’ at All Stars MMA in Sweden, delivered a respectful response to the former lightweight champion’s comments in a post on Instagram.
“Dear @khabib_nurmagomedov , my muslim brother. Firstly I would like say I have a huge respect for you as an athlete and for all your achievements in our beloved sport of MMA. I am also very proud of how you represent our religion, belief and God in all your interviews and appearances.But, I would like to give my point on your opinion on @khamzat_chimaev not having a muslim team around him and that was supposed to be the reason of him missing the weight. I have to disagree with you on this part.
“Not only have Khamzat had muslim friends and teammates such as me around him from day 1, but also from many other religions and backgrounds, The have been people that have been with him from the start, giving him love, sharing blood, sweat and joy and done everything to bring him to where he is now. Being a muslim doesn’t mean we are perfect and flawless, trust me, I have done many mistakes in my life as many people know, with all due respect, so have you.
“So mentioning having muslim team will make you perfect, I have to disagree, having a team that cares about you. in good times and bad times, no matter what belief or religion they have is far more important. And that is something Khamzat has. There are several issues that made Khamzat miss the weight but those reasons stay in the team. But he is still young and he will learn from his mistakes. If a big Champion like you, did learn from your mistake when you missed weight, I have no doubt that our brother Khamzat will do as well.”
As a result of coming in severely overweight for his UFC 279 headliner, Khamzat Chimaev’s days at welterweight may be over. Speaking at the UFC 279 post-fight press conference, Dana White wouldn’t completely close the door on ‘Borz’ fighting at 170 but appeared to be pretty settled on the idea of moving to 185 in the future.
“It’s a problem,” White said. “That’s a problem that he missed weight. I don’t know. We’ve got to look at it and figure it out. What makes sense is for him to fight at [185 pounds], so we’ll see. It is what it is. It happened. We’ll go back this week and come up with a plan and probably have him fight at .”