UFC Champ Israel Adesanya Shares Strong Take on Khamzat Chimaev

Israel Adesanya

Getty Israel Adesanya celebrates his victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in October 2019.

Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya recently gave his take on rising 170-pound contender Khamzat Chimaev.

Adesanya appeared on the most recent episode of the “Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson” podcast, and he shared his opinion on Chimaev. “Borz” is set for the biggest match of his 10-fight professional MMA career. He will take on No. 2-ranked welterweight contender Gilbert Burns this weekend at UFC 273 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Chimaev has torn through every opponent he’s met inside the Octagon and after Burns, the fighter plans to continue his campaign through the welterweight division. And eventually, he wants to capture the 185-pound title as well.

The middleweight king was impressed with Chimaev’s most recent victory – Borz choked out Li Jingliang in the first round of their encounter at UFC 267 in October 2021 – but “The Last Stylebender” only thinks Chimaev’s a “beast” at welterweight.

“When the dog barks at the moon, that’s normal,” Adesanya said to Tyson via MMA Junkie. “But when the moon barks at the dog, that’s something special, so I was like, ‘All right. This guy fights at welterweight. He’s fought at middleweight one time, and he’s fought like a low-ranked guy and definitely he can beat some middleweights.’ But I’m like, ‘Show me something.’

“Show me something like he’s never – his last fight was impressive, and I said I might not like you but if I’m impressed by what you do, I’ll give you props. He’s a beast, but he’s a beast at 170.”

Chimaev Said He Would ‘Smash’ Adesanya, The Last Stylebender Wants ‘Fresh Blood’ & Doesn’t Rule Out Fight

If Borz was locked in a cage with either Adesanya or UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, he believes the result would be the same. While speaking with Daniel Cormier during UFC 273 fight week, Chimaev gave his thoughts on competing against both champions.

“Usman almost handicapped, brother,” Chimaev said via MMA Junkie. “His knees doesn’t work, his back hurts, his arm hurts, operation everywhere. The guy is too old, and he’s too slow. They wanna find a way to make money and go away from my way. Israel, I think he will fight me. I don’t think the guy is scared. That guy is gonna fight with me, and I will fight the guy, as well. But this is not my level, that guy. He gives his back to this guy (Whittaker) who never did wrestling in UFC, never took somebody down.”

The Last Stylebender doesn’t appear opposed to fighting Chimaev, but he wants Borz to “show” him “something” on Saturday night.

“Right now, I’m lapping the division,” Adesanya said during the podcast via MMA Fighting. “I need some fresh blood. He’s fresh blood where I’m like, show me something. I love what he’s doing at 170 but show me something.”

Adesanya Compared Chimaev to Paulo Costa

In perhaps his most impressive performance as middleweight champion, Adesanya put on a striking clinic against Paulo Costa at UFC 253 in September 2020. Costa talked a heap of trash going into the fight, but The Last Stylebender only needed two rounds to silence the Brazilian, finishing him via TKO.

“Paulo [Costa] started talking,” Adesanya said. “‘Blah, blah, blah, he’s a shameful champion, I’m gonna kill him,’ similar to what this boy’s talking about, and I was like, ‘Bet. Watch this.’ And I showed them. I showed them bad.”

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