Khamzat Chimaev has revealed that he told “chicken” Gerald Meerschaert of his aim to “smash his face” when they met ahead of their UFC fight on Saturday, reiterating that his scheduled future fights are not a sign of disrespect.
The Chechen-born newcomer is targeting another quick victory when he makes his US debut against the toughest opponent of his career to date in Las Vegas, and he has already had the opportunity to personally inform Meerschaert that the American’s fury at Chimaev being booked to fight Demian Maia next month is misplaced.
Meerscheart has warned Chimaev that he will be in no fit state for a quick return to the octagon after what he believes will be a brutal first defeat of the Sweden-based star’s career, but his words hold no fear for Chimaev, who has said he is “better everywhere” than the American.
“I told him he speaks too much, he talks too much,” Chimaev said of their chance meeting in a hotel.
“He said, ‘you disrespect me.’ I didn’t like that.
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“I said, ‘I’m going to smash your face, chicken.’ He said nothing and I go from there.
“I’m better wrestling, I’m better grappling. I’m better in striking. No-one’s going to stop me. I don’t know what’s going to happen on Saturday night but I’m going to go 100 percent to kill this guy. That’s what I know. I’m going to finish this guy.”
Chimaev has become one of the UFC’s most hotly-tipped fighters thanks to his two wins in ten days at different weights on ‘Fight Island’ in July, not least because promotion president Dana White intervened to ensure he secured a relatively swift visa to fight in the US and has taken the unusual move to line up multiple fights at a time for him.
“I don’t know why it’s disrespectful,” Chimaev said.
“Amateur boxing people go with five or six fights [scheduled]. I don’t know why he feels like this is disrespect.”
Noted grappler Meerschaert, who has produced an image showing Chimaev’s “hype train” being derailed, said the naming of opponents and dates by his rival “rubs me up the wrong way, for sure.”
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Giving his version of the hotel clash, he recalled: “It was pretty quick. I think he was trying to talk trash to me. He was saying, ‘Don’t talk too much’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, OK.’
“I don’t think it’s a very cool thing to flex when you’ve got a bunch of your friends with you. I had one guy with me, he had a bunch of guys with him.”
Meerschaert claimed Chimaev was “really skinny” to be competing at middleweight with him. “He doesn’t look big enough,” he said.
“He’s probably pretty fast because he’s going to be lighter. His technique isn’t bad at all.
“You’ve still got to have some kind of power to do anything, especially in grappling. I don’t think this is the weight class for him.
“I have way more experience and options of ways to finish the fight. I’d like to submit him, but who knows? I know I’m going to get a finish.”
The former RFA middleweight champion felt that Chimaev had been “overhyped” because of his similarities to Russian lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“You’ve got a guy that looks like another guy who’s a champion, kind of talks like him and fights like him. He’s probably got the record for quickest turnaround for two victories in the UFC, so why wouldn’t you push that guy?
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“If I’m Dana White and the UFC, I’m doing the exact same thing. What I take issue with, again, is trying to put names and dates on paper before you have your first fight. I’m only focused on him.”
Chimaev emphasized that he was only interested in the title, although he also addressed social media cynicism after he was shown buying a homeless man a meal.
“I don’t need to be a superstar like Floyd Mayweather, like [Conor] McGregor,” he added.
“I need normal money so that I can help my money and the people I love.
“If it happens, it will be good – I can help more people with more money. I don’t think about this sh*t, being famous or something like that. I think about how I’m going to be champion.”