When Chimaev returned from a lengthy year-plus layoff at UFC 267 last October, most discussions about future champions, future stars, and the most promising prospects in the promotion were directed towards “Borz.” Given the way he choked out “The Leech,” that was understandable.
But at UFC Vegas 47, the first Kazakhstani citizen to compete in the Octagon entered the conversation and reminded fans, and the rest of the 170-pound crop, that he’s a name to keep an eye on.
Prior to his UFC debut in 2020, Rakhmonov was a highly-touted M-1 champion across the Atlantic. But while his name would have been solely on European and Asian lips a number of years ago, “Nomad” has broken through on MMA’s biggest stage with three finishes in three UFC outings.
Having submitted veteran Brazilians Alex Oliveira and Michel Prazeres, Rakhmonov maintained his undefeated record and 100% finishing rate in the promotion at UFC Vegas 47 by brutally knocking out the in-form Carlston Harris.
Rakhmonov: “I Am Not Khamzat, I Am Shavkat”
As far as gaining hype goes, there aren’t many better ways to do it than a spinning hook kick and a display of vicious ground-and-pound. Now, with his perfect résumé displaying 15 wins and 15 finishes, Rakhmonov is beginning to be spoken about in the same conversation as the ranked contenders in the welterweight division.
One of those names is Khamzat Chimaev. With both men displaying their suffocating wrestling and submission games, as well as knockout power, in their early UFC careers, many have begun to compare the two and question how a fight between the pair would play out.
That doesn’t please “Nomad.”
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Rakhmonov was asked whether he gets frustrated at the increasing comparisons being made between himself and the Chechen-born Swede. The 27-year-old confirmed he gets annoyed at what he identified as the question he gets asked the most.
“Yeah, I get annoyed because I am not Khamzat, I am Shavkat,” Rakhmonov said through his translator. “This is a question I get asked the most; when are we going to fight? But time will show. Right now, I’m just being annoyed with these questions (about Chimaev).”
It appears both men could be looking to further increase their stocks and rise up the welterweight ladder against two prominent Brazilians in their next outings. While talk of a Chimaev vs. Gilbert Burns matchup has existed for months now, Rakhmonov has set his sights on the exciting and unpredictable Michel Pereira.
While they may be on parallel paths at the moment, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see “Nomad” and “Borz” share the Octagon down the line, perhaps even with gold on the line?
Do you see both Khamzat Chimaev and Shavkat Rakhmonov as future UFC welterweight champions?