Khamzat Chimaev Hypes Up 2021- Is He the UFC’s Next Superstar?

Published 12/28/2020, 11:00 AM EST


Khamzat Chimaev achieved a lot in his short run in 2020. Despite not fighting before the second half of the year, Chimaev competed 4 times and won each fight. He would have had a 5th fight if Leon Edwards hadn’t caught the COVID-19 bug.

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Edwards is a Top-3 ranked fighter and a win over him would have gotten him within a whiskers length of a title shot. He seems to be speaking it into existence, putting up a picture of him with the UFC Championship with the caption 2021 on Twitter.

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But is Chimaev actually a legitimate prospect? Is his current record overblown because of the level of competition he has faced?

With the Edwards match re-booked for early January, we will get an answer to this question soon enough. Proclaiming a title run is very bold, but does this argument have merit?

Khamzat Chimaev: Welterweight champion by end of 2021?

To expect Khamzat Chimaev to become world champion this year may be premature as of now. However, who knows how he will be looked at after the Edwards fight?

If he loses, it will be explained away with the credentials that ‘Rocky’ has. He will get more rank sensible opponents, and he could very well rise back to the top again. Albeit in a more natural way.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 26: (L-R) Khamzat Chimaev of Czechia punches Rhys McKee of Northern Ireland in their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 26, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

However, he could also stun everyone and beat Leon. That will surely get him another top opponent before a title fight, possibly all in 2021.

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He won’t fight as often, considering how it is harder for top opponents to get fights, but he will be in the wings waiting for any top contender.

Chimaev’s skill-set fits modern MMA perfectly. While we shouldn’t expect more one-punch KO’s from him, his striking is definitely dangerous.

Maybe not at the level of a UFC champion, but dangerous nonetheless. His wrestling is his bread and butter, and that skill is already elite.

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But to expect him to out-strike Jorge Masvidal, or out-wrestler Kamaru Usman, is very presumptuous. Khamzat will have a great 2021 in all likelihood and may even challenge for a title this year. But all these proclamations may be a little premature.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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