Rising star Chimaev in line for UFC 252 fight

MMA

UFC newcomer Khamzat Chimaev has already set the world on fire, recording two wins in 11 days this month at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

It was the quickest successful turnaround in UFC history — and both the company and the fighter are looking to keep that momentum going.

UFC president Dana White told ESPN he is working on booking Chimaev (8-0) his third Octagon appearance at UFC 252 on Aug. 15 in Las Vegas, although he did not name an opponent. Chimaev, who is currently back home in Sweden, confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday he is willing to fight on Aug. 15 and is looking to apply for the necessary visa.

“Nobody say to me I have a fight,” Chimaev said. “I hear the interview, but I waiting to see if [manager Ali Abdelaziz] is calling me. We will see. Dana said to start work tomorrow for a visa to come to the USA.”

A former amateur wrestler, Chimaev submitted John Phillips in a middleweight bout at UFC Fight Night on July 15, and came right back with a knockout against Rhys McKee in a welterweight contest on July 25. The 26-year-old intends to fight primarily at welterweight moving forward, but would like to win titles in both weight classes.

When asked what kind of opponent Chimaev believes he’s ready for, the Chechen-Swede responded, “I don’t think they want to give me a tough fight because I only have two fights. But if they do, I will be happy to smash somebody from the top 10.”

Dubbed Khabib 2.0 by his manager Abdelaziz — a nod to undefeated lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov — Chimaev became only the second fighter in the UFC’s modern era to land at least 100 total strikes and absorb two or fewer in his first two fights. He has landed 192 strikes in total for far in UFC and absorbed only two. The only other man to accomplish the feat is former heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez.

“As soon as possible,” said Chimaev, when asked how quickly he believes he can win a UFC title. “I will not fight once a year — five, six, seven, as many as possible. If I win all my fights, if I finish everybody like I do, I get it soon.”

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