At UFC 271, Israel Adesanya turned in another successful middleweight title defense when he defeated Robert Whittaker for the second time. His performance was met with mixed reviews, but there was nothing complimentary at all coming from rising star Khamzat Chimaev.
Chimaev began his UFC career with an eye on both the welterweight and middleweight championships. When he returned to action in October 2021, he had committed to focusing solely on the welterweight division.
But Borz just cannot help himself. He is always hungry when looking at gold on other warriors’ plates, especially when the owner has competed in a division that is familiar to him.
Chimaev Says Adesanya Would Be “Easy” Work, Adesanya Responds
After Adesanya’s UFC 271 victory, in a since-removed tweet due to violating Twitter rules, Chimaev posted:
“@stylebender easy money for me, 0 wrestling. 1 round I’m gonna kill him.”
When told about Chimaev’s tweet at the UFC 271 post-fight press conference, Adesanya responded with one word, two letters: “OK.”
In a sit-down interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Adesanya would have more to say—about why he doesn’t have more to say.
“I mean, he’s not really relevant right now,” Adesanya explained. “I don’t have to take him seriously till I have to take him seriously. Like, his last fight, I was impressed with. I was like, ‘Yo, that guy’s good.’ But there’s levels. So we’ll see how he does with Gilbert [Burns]. And he’s only fought like one middleweight fight that I’ve seen. And I’m just like, ‘Who has he fought?’”
Khamzat Chimaev is currently 10-0 as a professional and 4-0 in the UFC. He is also 4-0 in career middleweight bouts. His lone middleweight victory in the UFC came against Gerald Meerschaert via one single punch. His only win over a ranked opponent was in a welterweight contest against Li Jingliang at UFC 267.
Still, Adesanya acknowledges that Chimaev has talent. Even with the relatively small sample size, that would be hard for anyone to deny. But at the same time, the reigning middleweight king feels “Borz” has a lot more to prove until he is worthy of his attention.
“And he can beat a lot of middleweights, I’ll tell you that much—a lot of top-level middleweights,” Adesanya said. “But I don’t have to take him seriously until I have to take him seriously.”
What are your thoughts on Israel Adesanya’s comments about Khamzat Chimaev?