‘I’ve Become Stronger Mentally’- Khamzat Chimaev Fires Back at The Criticism Over His Absence From UFC

Published 07/17/2021, 1:30 AM EDT


UFC’s rising star Khamzat Chimaev will return to the Octagon after a lengthy lay-off from active competition. He will take on welterweight Jingliang Li at UFC 267 in what will be his first appearance in a UFC pay-per-view. Chimaev, who made a fast start to his UFC career having fought 3 times in quick succession, had to take some time off because of some severe health issues.

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‘Borz’ was scheduled for a clash against the cream of the crop welterweight contender Leon Edwards multiple times. Unfortunately, coronavirus and other medical problems forced him out of action. Now, the Chechen fighter is confident that he has made full use of his time on the sidelines. He believes he is more dangerous than ever and has made some massive improvements to his skills as well.

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The guy’s had an operation. He had a cyst in his neck which was like a 4 cm cyst,” said Chimaev’s coach. “They removed it as well. Corona, he’s had scars on his lungs, he’s had problems with his knee. So, we fixed all that now. Now he’s ready. People are in trouble.

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I think I’ve become stronger mentally, coach. Five months being out from the training. But when we come back, I’m hungry. More hungry. When people talk too much, it makes me more motivation,” ‘Borz’ responded.

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)

Chimaev earned a sensational 17-second knockout finish over veteran Gerald Meerschaert in his last fight. Whether he can live up to the hype around him, remains to be seen.

Khamzat Chimaev vs Jingliang Li: What to expect at UFC 267?

Li finished Santiago Ponzinibbio in a spectacular manner in his last fight. Hence, he will be determined to keep the ball rolling in his career as well. However, ‘Borz’ Khamzat Chimaev is certainly skilled enough to win this fight.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 17: (L-R) Li Jingliang of China punches Santiago Ponzinibbio of Argentina in a welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 17, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Whether the Octagon absence has taken a toll on his mentality, will be something fans will keep a close eye on. It’s not easy for anybody to overcome adversities like that. Hence, the manner in which ‘Borz‘ handles the lay-off will be a big identity of his career.

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What do you make of Khamzat Chimaev’s comments?

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Apratim Banerjee

984 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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