Khamzat Chimaev – is the hype train destined for the top?

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Written by Kieran Green (@Kierlfc12)

Two days have passed since Khamzat Chimaev’s first round KO over Gerald Meershaert, and fans are still in sheer disbelief over what was arguably one of this year’s best fighting performances.

The Swedish prospect coolly dispatched his opponent within 17 seconds, landing a swift right hand onto the chin of a timid Meerschaert that had him seeing stars on the canvas in an instant.

It was a knockout so devastating that many are already tipping him to soon be contending for both Welterweight and Middleweight titles, with this looking inevitable if he maintains his current pace across the two divisions.

Speaking after the fight, UFC president Dana White remained adamant that he has never seen a fighter as special as Chimaev during his time in the business, which is an incredibly bold statement when you consider some of the talent that he has nurtured over the years.

We can spend all day listening to Dana promoting every single fighter on his roster, and that is understandable because his job is to get us to self-invest in them, but can we really believe him – or is he riding the hype train whilst he can?

The main question is, why is a fighter who has only had three UFC fights generating so much attention, and what is so special about this one?

What makes Chimaev so special is his clear dedication to his craft, and an incredibly abnormal workrate that he so effortlessly upholds.

By now we have all heard of how he won two fights within ten days at Welterweight and Middleweight on Fight Island, with this feat not usually accomplishable – especially for a UFC debutant.

He is so keen in fact, that he was double-booked to fight Damian Maia straight after Meershaert when he accepted the bout, but he may have to fight again before that because Maia physically cannot be ready in the time that Chimaev can be.

It is clear that Dana White is going to have a headache trying to find fights for the future superstar at this rate, with a step-up in competition definitely needed for the ruthless Swede.

Despite the fact that Chimaev has called out some high level middleweights and most of the top 10 Welterweights, his next rumoured opponents include Neil Magny, and Brazil’s Michael Perreira.

However it is certain that we will see multiple clashes with highly-ranked opponents throughout the next year, with UFC gold in sight.

An incredibly talented Mixed Martial Artist that boasts an arsenal of skills, stylistically Chimaev is an absolute nightmare for opponents.

We all know by now how relentless his striking is, but he also boasts a rich background in wrestling that besides from his first UFC fight, we have hardly even seen results of.

Born in Chechnya, a Russian region notorious for producing good wrestlers, Chimaev would win bronze at the Russian wrestling championships, before immigrating to Sweden and winning gold in his new country.

A few Judo and Sambo tournaments would also be completed by a young Chimaev, who was already beginning to prove that he can be the ultimate all-rounder inside the octagon.

This alone justifies the current hype surrounding him, as it is hard not to be excited by a fighter that seems to be almost annoyingly good at everything involved within Mixed Martial Arts.

A fearless man who is already calling out the best, coupled with the dedication to fight at any time, and a skillset beyond the wildest dreams of many – it is clear that Khamzat Chimaev boasts all of the necessary attributes of a future UFC champion.

Only time will tell whether the hype train is headed for the ultimate heights, but we are all on-board and looking forward to what is certainly going to be an exciting ride, and a bright future for a seemingly generational talent.