The mystique surrounding Chimaev is palpable and has practically forced every MMA practitioner and pundit to figure out what makes the enigmatic fighter tick. UFC veteran Stephen Thompson, who has challenged for the welterweight title on two separate occasions, has offered opinions about the hype surrounding Chimaev.
Stephen Thompson explains why the entire UFC fears the “Borz.”
“It’s one thing to have skills, to have strength, and technique. But when you combine that with willpower, and determination to win, you have a scary opponent right there in front of you,” said Thompson via his YouTube channel. (Transcribed by MMAWeekly).
Given Thompson’s proximity to the welterweight strap in the past, his opinion of Chimaev might be the most lucid and measured take in the division. “He’s one of, if not the most, anticipated prospects in MMA,” Thompson said.
The tangibles that Chimaev brings into the octagon have been documented extensively. Having perfected his grappling abilities through several wrestling competitions in his past, the 27-year-old Chimaev has definitely earned his fearsome nickname “Borz,” which translates to “wolf” in his native Chechen. Chimaev’s tenacity in the cage hasn’t allowed an accurate appraisal of his presumed shortcomings, providing “Wonderboy” another reason why “Borz” possesses an aura of terror.
“We haven’t seen any of his weaknesses,” said Thompson. “Have you seen this guy get knocked down? Have you seen him get taken down? Have you seen him get submitted? No. What works against him? We don’t know. I think that’s what makes this guy so special.”
One thing that’s undeniably true is that Chimaev’s fight with the number two ranked welterweight in the world, Gilbert Burns, at VyStar Veteran’s Memorial Arena this Saturday will be his biggest test to date- and Thompson agrees.
“We haven’t seen the other side of Khamzat Chimaev, just his wrestling. We don’t know what else he’s capable of,” said Thompson. “We haven’t seen how he handles adversity in the cage. We haven’t seen somebody backing him up on his heels. How does he handle the kind of stuff? We don’t know.”
Do you agree with Wonderboy’s comments?