The UFC is at all times looking out for his or her subsequent phenomenon. The following fighter to beat the field workplace and make the bosses richer.
Conor McGregor is the principle attraction proper now and he has not been shy about telling individuals he had the very best grossing pay-per-view of 2020 when he beat Donald Cerrone in January. He additionally holds seven of the highest eight highest purchased PPVs in UFC historical past.
As well as, UFC president Dana White has the star energy of Jorge Masvidal to depend on, whereas Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar had been massive attracts of their primes.
However who’s subsequent for UFC? White has steered Weili Zhang might be a breakout celebrity for the corporate, however no person has generated extra noise than Khamzat Chimaev this 12 months.
The Russian-born naturalised Swede is 9-Zero in his profession and solely made his UFC debut at Combat Island in July.
He recorded two stoppage wins within the house of 10 days within the first instalment in Abu Dhabi then received his third win – a 17-second knockout – slightly below two months later.
At simply 66 days, Chimaev claimed the quickest three-fight profitable streak in trendy UFC historical past. Getting into the file books in your maiden 12 months with the largest combined martial arts promotion is just not a nasty solution to begin.
White fell in love with the 26-year-old nearly immediately. Chimaev has been determined to battle at each alternative and he’s backed up his confidence with jaw-dropping performances each time.
“The man is particular,” White mentioned about Chimaev in September. “I’ve been on this recreation my entire life, I’ve by no means seen something like him. I’m telling you the man is like nothing I’ve ever seen earlier than. By no means seen something like this in my life. Particular.”
Forward of Chimaev’s gorgeous efficiency in Las Vegas in September, he additionally took to the streets to feed a homeless man a McDonald’s having noticed the individual as he drove across the battle capital of the world.
That form of persona is what helps the legend develop and when you’ve gotten the dynamite performances he has had within the octagon, too, it’s a money-making mixture.
‘Borz’ – which interprets to wolf in Russian – is just ranked 15th within the welterweight division proper now, however he was set to tackle quantity three ranked Leon Edwards in December earlier than each males had been struck down with Covid.
Chimaev and White have each mentioned they’ve discovered it onerous to search out him opponents given the best way he has blitzed previous opponents. That’s attracted names like Edwards, Darren Until and Kevin Holland to supply their companies in opposition to him and Chimaev has even steered shifting up a division.
Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is one title linked, in addition to the Diaz brothers – Nick and Nate – and he as soon as really travelled to Eire in an try to beat up McGregor for a way he disrespected Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“At the moment, I used to be preventing as an beginner or a professional file of 1-Zero when that occurred,” the Stockholm resident advised Russian freelance reporter Adam Zubayraev.
“It’s that point when he insulted Khabib, and he additionally was speaking about Zubaira [Tukhugov].
“At the moment, no person knew who I used to be. He was additionally speaking about one other man who’s additionally Chechen. I don’t bear in mind his title, however he advised us he knocked him out in a sparring session.
“My thoughts was blowing up in the meanwhile, however I’m residing right here very near him. I used to be pondering that I might catch him within the streets or on the fitness center and beat him up. That is what he deserved.”
After touchdown in Eire, Chimaev was held by authorities for eight or 9 hours in a cell. He was then swiftly deported again to Sweden, although it’s not completely clear why.
“Actually talking, I wished to beat him up,” Chimaev mentioned. “Many individuals thought I used to be coming there to assist him to arrange [to fight] Khabib… not for Khabib.
“I used to be coming there to guard our delight and honour. I used to be going there for all of us. If that may not have occurred, I might have possibly thrown, I don’t know, some object. I feel I used to be in a position to stand for myself.”
Since then, he’s had no drawback speaking concerning the Irishman and eager to get him within the octagon.
“I need to smash the burger king man straightforward cash,” Chimaev wrote on Twitter.
He has all of the elements to be a celebrity for UFC and if he wins emphatically in his subsequent couple of encounters in opposition to ranked opponents, the thrill goes to succeed in fever pitch.
He’s received the charisma and persona, however he’s received the substance within the octagon so far, too.