Comparing Khamzat Chimaev to Khabib Nurmagomedov Is Unfair Says Chael Sonnen

Published 12/01/2020, 12:02 PM EST


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.

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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.

Chael Sonnen not on board to compare Chimaev with Nurmagomedov

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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.”

Khamzat Chimaev has proved his quality in the UFC

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 19: (R-L) Khamzat Chimaev of Chechnya punches Gerald Meerschaert in their middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

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.

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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.

How do you think Khamzat Chimaev will do in his next fight? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Apratim Banerjee

849 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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