Khamzat Chimaev isn’t impressed by Alex Pereira’s quick rise through Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Middleweight division.
Both Chimaev and Pereira rose to superstardom in UFC historically quicker than most. Chimaev, primarily finding success as Welterweight, has bounced between divisions, but has now seemingly set his sights firmly on Middleweight. “Borz” last fought at UFC 279 in Sept. 2022, defeating Kevin Holland with a first-round d’arce choke submission (watch highlights). An impressive performance as always from the Sweden resident, it was mired by a near eight-pound weight miss the day before, shuffling up the card’s final three bouts.
In the time since, Pereira claimed supremacy at UFC 281 two months later, finishing Israel Adesanya with strikes in round five (watch highlights). Despite the speed of Pereira’s mixed martial arts (MMA) success, Chimaev has a colossal amount of confidence that he’d have no trouble with the current champion.
“He’s the most easy fight for me in the UFC. In my career, brother,” Chimaev told The MMA Hour. “First round, first minute. Easy. No punch, nothing. I don’t think [he beats Adesanya]. If Israel trains just wrestling in his training camp, he’ll beat him easy. That guy has zero wrestling. I don’t know — yes, UFC like to push that guy, crazy guy, and he’s playing, showing he’s face always serious, and all that s—t. Why play that much? I don’t know. I don’t like that guy.
“He has zero wrestling? Who they give him? Who was wrestler in his career?” he continued. “The one guy who was not in the UFC — I don’t know what he did fighting or not — he lost against that guy from Brazil. I watched that fight. That fighter is almost amateur. He beats him. He lost against the guy. He clinched him and tried to wrestle with him and tried to make him tired. Of course, if you’re just kickboxer and just do kickboxing match in the cage with the small gloves, yeah, you’re better in striking. You do your thing and you win the fight. But if you fight with somebody who wrestles … because most guys, [Roman] Dolidze gonna win against him, Jack Hermansson gonna win against him. Easy. Because we are wrestlers and we’re different.”
Chimaev’s next move awaits to be seen, but the undefeated star targets a July return, hoping for a top contender bout at 185 pounds at the very least. Meanwhile, Pereira is set to make his first title defense in a rematch with Adesanya, headlining UFC 287 on April 8, 2023.
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