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Khamzat Chimaev vs Kamaru Usman? UFC boss says “Maybe”

"The kid is legit. He’s real and he knows it and I love it."

Can Fight Island’s breakout star Khamzat Chimaev hang with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman? Dana White sounds off. 

The UFC’s four fight stretch at Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island is now over. The events produced several interesting story lines and fights, and many fighters broke out into the spotlight. None was perhaps more impressive than Sweden’s Khamzat Chimaev, who has become one of the welterweight division’s biggest prospects following two standout performances over John Phillips and Rhys McKee. Chimaev completely dominated and finished both, only absorbing an astonishing combined two strikes in both fights.

UFC president Dana White recently spoke out on who impressed him the most during his time at Fight Island, and the answer was clear.

“Khamzat,” White told ESPN. “I mean, you know? The guy is so dominant, so confident, wants to continue to fight every weekend. I love it. I love guys with that mentality. I love how talented this guy is. We threw the hottest prospect out of the U.K. at him and that kid is a badass. That kid is a legit great fighter. (Chimaev) made it look like he didn’t belong there. … The kid is legit. He’s real and he knows it and I love it.”


After two victories in one week and call outs of the likes of Michael Chiesa and Demian Maia, the question remains: Who’s next for Chimaev? Many have wondered aloud about a potential bout between Chimaev and welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, as both have strong grappling bases while retaining power in their strikes. As of now, White is not sure who Chimaev will fight next.

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” White said. “We were sitting in here this morning trying to figure out what we think is next. If you ask this kid, he’s ready to fight Usman. You know what I mean? Is he ready for Usman? The way he looks, who knows? Maybe.”

Chimaev has expressed interest in fighting as much as possible, however finding willing opposition might not be easy after the bulldozing the Swede’s first UFC opponents received.

How would Khamzat Chimaev do against Kamaru Usman?

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for MMAnytt.com