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Khamzat Chimaev has more than lived through the hype of UFC Fight Night 178.The Allstars Training Center rep did a short job on Gerald Meerschaert, knocking out his opponent with a right center just 17 seconds away from their middleweight meeting at UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. After using his grappling to dominate John Phillips and Rhys McKee in his first two promotional appearances, Chimaev was happy to showcase a different element of his game. The 26-year-old’s first two performances had drawn comparisons to the defending champion lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Shimaev wants the world to know he’s more than that.
“Everyone says, ‘You are Khabib. Khabib # 2, “something like that. But I am Khamzat, ”he told the media after his victory. “I can knock people out, subdue people, crush people, anything. I have everything. ”
Heading into UFC Fight Night 178, Chimaev had already booked two upcoming fights, with a showdown against veteran jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia in October. This alleged timeline drew its share of criticism, but against Meerschaert, Shimaev showed why promotion officials have such high expectations of him.
“The guy is special. I’ve been playing this game my whole life, never seen anything like it. He’s special, he’s different and he wants to fight again, ”UFC President Dana White said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “I’ve never been in a position where I’m like, ‘Who’s next? How do we get him a fight? How do you get him to come here, how to get him there? How do we do this, how do we do this?
“It’s fun and I like it and I think when you’re a fighting fan a guy like this is the one you like to watch and follow and hate and whatever it is. This guy is one of the most special fighters I have ever seen, if not the most special guy I know.
At this point, there is no guarantee that Chimaev will take on Maia next despite the original plans in place.
“I don’t know what I’m doing with him yet,” White said. “He could fight before Maia and fight Maia too. Maia will not be ready in time for this child.
As for Chimaev, he intends to continue doing what he does best. Praise and adulation are simply a by-product of this work.
“If you win and beat like that, everyone loves you,” he said. “I have to go on and crush people. I never have any pressure before the fights. I’ve been doing this all my life. Now I am a professional fighter.