Off the back of his close, majority decision win over former undisputed welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman in the co-main event of UFC 294 last weekend in Abu Dhabi, UAE – the unbeaten, Khamzat Chimaev has claimed he will continue to show everyone that he is, in fact, the “hardest fighter in the world” as he eyes a middleweight title shot.
Chimaev, who improved to 13-0 over the course of last weekend in his close judging victory over former pound-for-pound number one, Usman, landed at number nine in the official middleweight rankings on Tuesday of this week, in his first outing at the weight class since a 2020 knockout win over Gerald Meerschaert.
Khamzat Chimaev claims he’s the “hardest” fighter in the world
Turning in his first victory since a submission win over Kevin Holland back in September of last year, Chimaev has been tipped to fight for middleweight gold off the back of his win over Usman, despite landing at just number nine in the official divisional pile upon the release of the latest rankings update.
Reflecting on his victory over Usman in the Middle East, Chechen-born contender, Chimaev described himself as the “hardest” fighter in the world currently – and maintained he would continue to prove that to onlookers.
Issuing a stark warning to middleweight champion, Sean Strickland ahead of a potential clash, Chimaev claimed the Covina native knew all too well that he could “finish” him quite quickly if they fought.
However, whilst admitting he had no problem fighting Chimaev in his first attempted middleweight title defense, Strickland questioned how he had actually earned a title fight with just one win at 185lbs since 2020.
“The only thing I like about (Khamzat) Chimaev is that he sells fights,” Sean Strickland said. “For some reason, people f*cking like him or don’t like him, I don’t know. To me, he’s a f*cking paycheck. He sells a lot of fights. People pay to watch but he f*cking hasn’t earned it [title fight].”
“He doesn’t f*cking deserve it but here we are,” Sean Strickland explained. “Give it to him. He sells a lot of fights. I’ll go f*cking fight the man for five rounds. But no, he has not earned it. He doesn’t f*cking deserve it and getting a deciison with a welterweight off the couch does not f*cking earn it.”
Who wins in a future fight: Sean Strickland or Khamzat Chimaev?