Khamzat Chimaev issues warning to Bo nickal ahead of UFC 294: ‘I’m going to come up and smash his face’

Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev sent a word of warning to undefeated prospect Bo Nickal after the three-time NCAA Division I National Champion called the Chechen’s wrestling skills “trash” in a past interview.

After it was revealed that Paulo Costa was out of his co-main event clash with Chimaev at UFC 294 due to a nasty infection in his elbow, Nickal, a 5-0 fighter with an incredible average fight time of 1:20, immediately called out ‘Borz’ in hopes of snatching the short-notice opportunity.

As we now know, the UFC went in a different direction, booking former welterweight world champion Kamaru Usman to step in and take on Chimaev on 10 days’ notice. Nickal quickly expressed his frustration over being passed up by the promotion.

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“I was disappointed they didn’t ask me to step in there,” he said on his YouTube channel. “I was expecting at least an ask like, ‘Hey, you want to to this?’ But, no. Just nothing. Nothing from the UFC. It is what it is. I’m guessing they didn’t want me to roll over into Abu Dhabi on 10 days’ notice and smash their boy in front of his home crowd or something.”

The likelier scenario is that the UFC simply didn’t want to put one of their biggest stars in the cage against an unranked fighter who’s only had two fights inside the Octagon, but that’s a far less interesting headline.

Khamzat Chimaev says wrestling in the UFC is far different than when doing it for points

Asked about Nickal’s comments during his appearance at the UFC 294 media event ahead of fight night, Chimaev was fairly dismissive of Nickal’s comments about his wrestling skills, but ‘Borz’ did offer a word of warning to the Nittany Lion should the two ever step inside the Octagon.

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“I don’t know what this guy’s saying. He’s not wrestling for the points, man,” Chimaev said. “Here, we don’t play wrestling. This is fighting, man. I don’t care if somebody takes me down. I’m going to come up and smash his face. I don’t think this guy can come to the cage and take me down. It’s not wrestling. We don’t stay like wrestlers.”

Khamzat Chimaev enters his 13th career fight with an undefeated record of 12-0. That includes six wins under the UFC banner with only one of them going the distance. That would be his unanimous decision victory over Gilbert Burns in April 2022. The bout was Chimaev’s first major test inside the Octagon and while he faced some adversity, ‘Borz’ did more than enough to walk away the winner and prove to the naysayers that he is the real deal.

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If he can leave Etihad Arena with a win over Kamaru Usman on Saturday night, Chimaev will secure himself an opportunity to face reigning middleweight world champion Sean Strickland.