Khamzat Chimaev wanted to fight Conor McGregor badly enough that he traveled to Ireland.
Chimaev has quickly received the attention of many within the MMA community. His first two UFC bouts were just 10 days apart. He made his promotional debut on July 15, submitting John Phillips in the second round. Chimaev followed that up with a first-round TKO win over Rhys McKee in the opening frame on July 25.
Khamzat Chimaev Wanted To Fight Conor McGregor In Ireland
In the buildup to their Oct. 2018 showdown, things were heated between McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor hurled personal digs at Khabib and the people of Chechnya, where Chimaev was born. The UFC welterweight prospect told Adam Zubayraev that he made the trip to Ireland in hopes of finding McGregor and fighting him (via MMAJunkie).
“Honestly speaking, I wanted to beat him up,” Chimaev said. “Many people thought I was coming there to help him to prepare for Khabib. … Not only for Khabib. I was coming there to protect our pride and honor. I was going there for all of us. If that would not have happened, I would have maybe thrown, I don’t know, some object. … I think I was able to stand for myself.”
Chimaev ended up being stopped at the airport. He claimed that despite having the proper paperwork, he was sent to a police station where he was held for eight hours. He was then sent back to Sweden, where he has lived since 2011.
UFC president Dana White seems to be all in on Chimaev even this early in the game. He hopes to have the 170-pounder back inside the Octagon as soon as UFC 252 on Aug. 15. While the paperwork for a visa may get in the way of that, Chimaev is hoping to return as soon as late August or September.