The Early Career of Khamzat Chimaev Before UFC and MMA

Published 04/09/2022, 1:13 PM EDT

Khamzat Chimaev is, without doubt, one of the top prospects in the UFC’s present roster. The Chechnya-born fighter quickly made his name in the promotion with his impressive strength and skillful technique.

‘Borz’ is a boastful figure who likes to get into his opponent’s head before fighting. This has earned him a large fanbase across the sport and many believe he is destined for great things. Chimaev has become an inspiration for athletes and sports persons across the world with his incredibly inspirational story.

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The ranked welterweight was born in Russia and is now a Swedish citizen where he has become a household name.

What are Khamzat Chimaev’s background and history?

Khamzat Chimaev belongs to a Muslim family from Chechnya, Russia. He was born in 1994 and started training in wrestling and grappling at the tender age of five. ‘Borz’ used to train at a wrestling club across the street from his home.

He took part in the Russian junior Wrestling championships and finished third. Chimaev was a prodigious talent and trained in his native country before eventually moving to Sweden as an immigrant. He had a tough childhood, which he has openly spoken about.

In Sweden, Chimaev first lived in Malmo and then moved to Linkoping. He later settled in the city of Kalmar with his mother and elder brother. 

Khamzat Chimaev joined various wrestling clubs and continued his passion in his new home, Sweden. He also tried his hand at Sambo and Judo before eventually moving to mixed-martial-arts full time. Khamzat started training MMA as a 23-year-old and joined the Allstar Training Center in Stockholm.

There, he was training alongside some renowned UFC fighters such as Ilir Latifi, Reza Madadi, and Alexander Gustafsson. After fighting three amateur battles with an unblemished record yet again, Chimaev turned professional on May 26, 2018. He fought and defeated Gard Olve Sagen via T/KO in the second round at the International Ring Fight Arena.

Soon after, he defeated Ole Magnor at Fight Club Rush 3 and then signed with Bahrain-based BRAVE Combat Federation. After a successful four-fight stint at BRAVE, Khamzat Chimaev finally earned a call-up to the UFC.

In his own words, Chimaev couldn’t sleep the night he received a call from the UFC. He kept thinking about how he was going to carry the same dominance inside UFC and worked hard enough to make it a reality so far.

He has won four out of four fights in his UFC career and made a name for himself in the welterweight division.

Career highlights of Khamzat Chimaev

‘Borz’ has dominated the sport in every part of the process, be it his amateur or professional career. He has done it in Russia, Sweden, Abu Dhabi, and the USA. The 27-year-old is still undefeated in his career and has become a myth around MMA circles. He will fight his next opponent, #2 ranked UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 on April 9, 2022.

This might turn out to be the biggest and most important fight of his career so far. However, Chimaev has seen many great ups in his journey already. He made the Modern UFC record by fighting and winning his first two fights inside the promotion within 10 days.

He won his third UFC fight on the trot inside two months, finishing Gerald Meerschaert in just 17 seconds. The MMA veteran, with an experience of over 40 fights, turned out too easy for Chimaev, who knocked him out with his first strike of the fight.

Chimaev has finished all of his opponents with a T/KO/Submission and gave many highlight reel-worthy performances. Notably, none of Chimaev’s fights have gone beyond the second round itself.

His recent feat was defeating Li Jingliang by submitting him with a rear-naked choke in October last year. The 6’2” tall fighter has a great reach advantage over his opponents and uses it well to control the fight from the beginning.

UFC awarded him the ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus for all four of his fights in the promotion. Chimaev received multiple awards in 2020 with his three quick succession wins in the UFC.

He won MMA Fighting’s 2020 Breakout fighter of the year, CombatPress’ Breakthrough Fighter of the Year, BT Sport’s 2020 Breakthrough Fighter of the Year, and became the Male Fighter of the Year 2020 at the Nordic MMA Awards.

Watch This Story: UFC 273 – Khamzat Chimaev vs Gilbert Burns Stats, Records, Reach, Height, and More

He won the Debutant of the Year award at the Fan Choice UFC Honors 2020.

Khamzat Chimaev: Career Stats and Record

Khamzat Chimaev boasts an unbeaten record in his amateur and professional MMA career. He fought Khaled Laallam in his first-ever amateur MMA fight at Fight Club Rush 1 in September 2017. ‘Borz’ defeated Laallam via submission in the second round with a Brabo Choke.

Chimaev defeated Danijel Grbic in his second amateur fight, at Kaisha Battle 14 in Helsingborg, Sweden, two months later. The grappling expert submitted Grbic by a guillotine choke in the second round.

He maintained a 3-0 amateur record by defeating Adnan Music via TKO in the first round of the fight in April 2018. They fought at the Nordic Warrior 3 in Nykoping, Sweden.

After that, he turned professional and won all ten of his pro fights, ‘Borz’ decimated all his opponents inside the cage.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 19: Khamzat Chimaev of Chechnya prepares to fight 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)

Apart from MMA, Chimaev took part in Judo, Sambo, and Wrestling championships, and won many medals there. He won the Swedish Freestyle National Championships and kept an unbeaten 12-0 record in the competition.

He holds the record for winning the fastest consecutive UFC fights (10 days). Later, he became the quickest to make a three-fight winning streak (66 days).

Khamzat Chimaev’s Wrestling Record summary

Like many Russian fighters, Chimaev has a background in wrestling and grappling, with enormous strength to take down his opponent. His tall structure and muscular body also help him dominate fights. He is a hard worker who puts in multiple shifts to always stay in the best shape.

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Chimaev began his wrestling training at a very young age and soon became a renowned name in the Russian circuit. He won the bronze medal at the Russian Junior Wrestling Championships and exhibited his potential.

After moving to Sweden, he continued his passion for wrestling and became a top name in the region. In fact, he successfully won the Swedish Freestyle National Championships thrice in a row and established his dominance there. ‘Borz’ won twice in 86 kg and once in 92 kg and kept an unbeaten 12-0 record in the competition.

After ending his wrestling stint on a high, ‘Borz’ moved to mixed martial arts and has made a big name for himself there as well. His fight against Gilbert Burns is one of the most anticipated bouts of UFC 273: Alexander Volkanovski vs The Korean Zombie.

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A win against ‘Durinho’ will put him on the path toward his ultimate dream: winning a UFC belt. As Chimaev says, he is here to “smash” anyone that comes in his way. Burns may have the experience over ‘Borz’, but the latter is on a destructive streak that might overpower the Brazilian.

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Utkarsh Gathani

150 articles

Utkarsh Gathani is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. A Mass Communication graduate from Wilson College, this sports buff, who is captivated by multiple sports, adores MMA. Conor McGregor is the reason for that as Utkarsh is in awe of the man's unbelievable striking ability, his lifestyle, and his trash talking.

Edited By: Vibhanshu Kumar

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