Chael Sonnen believes comparing rising star Khamzat Chimaev with Khabib Nurmagomedov is not fair. The former middleweight and light-heavyweight title contender believes although there have been much-touted similarities between the two Russian fighters, their path is very different.
Chimaev has been the most prominent star of the UFC in 2020. He has been on a roll in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions. That has drawn many to label him as the next Khabib Nurmagomedov.
According to Sonnen, their path is very different. When asked if Chimaev has taken Jorge Masvidal‘s place as the most prominent superstar of the UFC, and has become a global star, Sonnen said, “I do but I think he’s gotta transcend better. Don’t forget Khabib, even at the time he got that Conor fight, that was not even guaranteed to be booked had cameras not been rolling when Conor broke into the Barclays Center and assaulted him and ended up in handcuffs.
“In all fairness, Khabib was not a very big deal in North America. He is now, but I am taking you back then. He was big in other parts of the world.”
Chael Sonnen spoke at the ‘You’re Welcome with Chael Sonnen‘ podcast about how “Borz” has transformed into a global superstar. He also added that “The Eagle” was not that famous in the early stages of his career.
“Chimaev seems to be already worldwide, be a lot further in his career, which is only 3 matches deep with the fourth one scheduled. A lot further than Khabib could even dream of being at that time. So, I don’t know if I love the comparison of Chimaev and because Khabib’s out I think that’s a little bit unfair because Chimaev was already on the scene when Khabib was still on the scene.”
It is true that Chimaev has made the world aware of his arrival in the UFC. Back-to-back stoppage wins over John Phillips, Rhys Mckee, and veteran Gerald Meerschaert has put him on everyone’s radar. He finished Meerschaert in 17 seconds of the very first round. Chimaev is scheduled to fight top welterweight Leon “Rocky” Edwards next on December 19.
Chael Sonnen believes Chimaev deserves his own spotlight rather than being compared to the UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov.
“I am not really totally seeing the similarities between the two other than Chimaev at one point tipped his hat to Khabib and called himself Khabib 2.0. I think Chimaev is paving his own road,” Sonnen added.
If Chomaev can put on another highlight-reel performance against Edwards this month, he has to be considered one of the best fighters in the world already.
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