On Saturday, Chimaev will return to the Octagon for his sixth outing under the UFC banner. Having secured a sizable step up the ladder last time out, rising to #3 in the rankings with a unanimous decision win over Gilbert Burns at UFC 273, “Borz” is now set for his first experience in the main event spotlight.
In a matchup that not many would have predicted at the start of the year, Chimaev will throw down with veteran fan favorite Nate Diaz in the UFC 279 headliner, set for Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
Since the bout announcement, which came after Diaz had previously accused Chimaev of turning down the chance to possibly mark his final UFC opponent, the Chechen-born Swede has expressed his confidence online, even posting a meme of him residing over Diaz’s funeral.
With that back and forth in mind, as well as the fiery personalities of both men, it stands to reason that the UFC’s security team will be having an extra long fight week meeting ahead of any possible altercations.
And Chimaev’s latest comments certainly won’t put their minds at ease…
Chimaev: If Diaz’s Team Wants To Fight, We’ll Fight
During a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Chimaev looked ahead to his date in the cage with Diaz, and the fight week duties that come with a spot atop the September 10 PPV card.
When asked what he expects from Diaz when they share the stage at Thursday’s press conference and Friday’s ceremonial weigh-ins, “Borz” started by noting that a potential language barrier might come into play — not through his broken English, but how Diaz speaks.
But if “Borz” gets his way, talking might not be needed. The undefeated rising star warned Diaz that if he and his team want to start something, they’ll be met by a more than game Chechen-born Swede and his entourage.
“Actually, when he speaks, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t understand so much. I don’t think the guy’s talking good English,” Chimaev said. “He smokes too much, so that’s why his English is a bit different. My English is not perfect as well.
“We will see what happens. I’m gonna have some fun and sit there. If he wants to fight with his team, I’ll have like 20 guys with me. We’ll fight with him, all the teams… I would love if it happens, something crazy,” Chimaev added.
When Okamoto pointed out that many prefer to save the blows for fight night when they’re getting paid to throw down, Chimaev insisted that he won’t care about the pay check if his opponent wants to bring the scrap forward a few days.
“If they wanna fight before (Saturday), f*ck the money brother, I’m gonna fight with them. I love to fight. It’s what I love, my work is to fight. I’ve been born for war. I’m, inside, a warrior… when the fights come, you don’t care about money; just fight. We will see what happens.”
In terms of who would get the better of a Team Diaz vs. Team Chimaev presser brawl, “Borz” suggested he would have the much ‘fresher’ and youthful squad backing him.
“One thing as well, his team is old, brother. My team is fresh. His team always handicapped, brother,” Chimaev said whilst laughing.
Given Chimaev’s attempts to close the face-off gap to Burns last time out, as well as Diaz’s classic press conference moments, it certainly isn’t far-fetched to imagine the pair coming to blows prematurely.
Dana White will no doubt have his work cut out on stage…
How do you expect Khamzat Chimaev and Nate Diaz’s fight week interactions to go?