Surging UFC Star Nominates Himself to Extinguish Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev

Getty Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273.

Khamzat Chimaev is one of the hottest names in MMA right now, and fellow UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad wants to derail the hype train.

Both combatants are coming off victories this month over a top-five ranked 170 pounder. At UFC 273 on April 9, Chimaev proved he belongs in the upper echelon of the division after gutting out a unanimous decision victory over Gilbert Burns.

“Borz” has a professional record of 11-0 and is now ranked at No. 3 in the weight class, as per the official UFC rankings.

A week later, Muhammad headlined UFC on ESPN 34 opposite Vicente Luque, and “Remember the Name” avenged a 2016 KO loss to Luque by earning a unanimous decision win. Muhammad, who is unbeaten in his last eight fights, is sitting two spots under Chimaev in the welterweight rankings at No. 5.

After his hand was raised inside the Octagon, Muhammad took the chance to call out No. 1 Colby Covington, but a few days later, he reversed course and now has his sights set on Chimaev.

Muhammad doesn’t believe Covington wants a piece of either Chimaev or Remember the Name. Instead, “Chaos” is pursuing big-name money fights, Muhammad said.

“I don’t think Colby’s going to take a fight with either of us,” Muhammad said during MMA Fighting’s “The Fighter & The Writer” segment. “He’s looking for somebody off losses, or he’s looking for a [lightweight], or I think he’s probably going to call out a Nick Diaz or a Nate Diaz. He’s going to wait on the sidelines for one of those type of fights. I just don’t think he’s going to take any tough matchups really.

“Like I said, I’m a guy that likes to stay busy, likes to stay fighting. I know Khamzat like to stay fighting, stay active so I think coming off back-to-back weeks of us fighting, I think that makes a lot of sense, especially with the title fight looming.”

Muhammad Wants to Fight Chimaev to Determine the Next Title Contender

Remember the Name has a bit of personal beef with Chimaev as Borz has taken aim at Muhammad in the past on social media. For example, in December Chimaev questioned Muhammad’s heart and called him “bulls*** boy.”

Although Muhammad gave props to Chimaev for his gutsy performance at UFC 273, Remember the Name has “no respect for him.” And, he’d love to meet the fighter in the cage to determine the next welterweight title contender.

“Khamzat was one of the trolls tweeting Luque knocking me out, so I have no respect for him,” Muhammad said. “I’m down to fight him. That fight would mean a lot to me. To beat a guy like that who everybody thinks is invincible and untouchable. Obviously, he had a great fight with Gilbert Burns. Nothing but respect for both of those guys but I definitely want to beat him. I want to be the guy that stops him.

“I don’t want to have no excuses over the next guy that I beat that they say, ‘Well [Khamzat is] still here, he’s going to get the title shot next.’ I knew that beating Luque, that Khamzat was still there. If Khamzat beat Gilbert Burns, I was going to be stuck in that, ‘Well Khamzat should still fight [Kamaru] Usman next.’

“So now if Khamzat fights Colby and I fight somebody else, if Khamzat beats Colby, he’s getting a title shot before me. So I’d rather just skip all that, fight him in a five-round fight, winner gets a title shot. It makes a lot of sense to me.”

Muhammad Pointed to There Being More Fight Film on Chimaev Now

Until his fight with Burns, fans and fighters alike had little to go on in regards to Chimaev’s MMA skills. He dominated all four of his UFC opponents, and had never made is past the second round in the promotion.

That all changed when he met “Durinho,” which has now given his welterweight rivals the opportunity to study him more.

“That’s what I wanted out of that fight,” Muhammad said. “I like Gilbert, so I was rooting for Gilbert in general just cause we’re boys, but I wanted to see at least three rounds of it. I don’t care what happens, I just don’t want it to be a quick knockout on either side. I wanted to see what Khamzat really had in him. We got a lot of tape on him now. Now we see things.

“When I was training for him for the London fight when I thought I was going to fight him in London, I had watched tape on him already, I was looking for openings and the openings that I saw watching those tapes, I saw in the Gilbert Burns fight as well. I see a lot of openings. I think I’m very good at breaking down fighters and analyzing what it takes to beat those guys. I see a lot of ways for me to beat Khamzat.”

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