Pictures have emerged from undefeated UFC welterweight challenger, Khamzat Chimaev’s latest visit to his native Chechnya this month – with the AllStars MMA staple engaging in sparring sessions with the children of the region’s leader and warlord, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Chimaev, the current #3 ranked welterweight contender, co-headlined UFC 279 last month against Riverside striker, Kevin Holland in an impromptu catchweight fight – scoring a one-sided first round D’Arce choke win.

The victory came as Chimaev’s twelfth professionally amid an undefeated run, however, the Chechen-born finisher was initially scheduled to headline that pay-per-view event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Booked to fight welterweight veteran, Nate Diaz in the event’s curtain closer, Chimaev missed weight for the matchup by a staggering seven and a half pounds, forcing the cancellation of his fight against the Stockton native – who would instead fight and finish former interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson atop the card.

In the time since, Chimaev has received mass criticism for his weight miss, however, the aforenoted, Kadyrov, a personal friend of the former defended Chimaev’s weight mishap.

At the end of last month, reports detailed how Khamzat Chimaev had seen his passport confiscated by Russian authorities after arriving in St. Petersburg – ahead of a trip to Chechnya and then a visit to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, amid the countries decision to recruit soldiers for the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

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Khamzat Chimaev spars with the sons of Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny

Denying those reports, Chimaev, who is targeting a potential end-of-year return at the middleweight limit, was pictured training and sparring with Kadyrov’s children at the warlord’s Grozny home and gym.

“Here is UFC star Khamzat Chimaev playing the tole of punching bag for (Ramzan) Kadyrov’s teenage sons in Grozny today,” Bloody Elbow, Karim Zidan tweeted.

A close friend of Chimaev, Kadyrov has hosted the unbeaten UFC welterweight for parties and other functions in the Chechnya region, and following Chimaev’s battle with COVID-19 in 2020, admitted that he more or less strong-armed the latter against a decision to retire from the sport. 
Kadyrov also purchased Chimaev a Mercedes Benz SUV following a victory in the Octagon that same year, which Chimaev ultimately crashed.

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Before his win over Holland in September, the Andreas Michael product managed to defeat one-time title challenger, Gilbert Burns in a close unanimous decision win in April of this year at UFC 273.

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.