Khamzat Chimaev made his UFC debut in July earlier this year and has systematically destroyed all three opponents that he has fought so far. He choked out John Phillips at UFC on ESPN 13, knocked out Rhys McKee in the first round and then slept Gerald Meerschaert in just 17-seconds of the first round.
His incredible performance in the UFC has earned him a lot of goodwill from the fans and the UFC and as a result, the promotion is pushing him hard. Khamzat Chimaev also accepted the offer to fight Leon Edwards at UFC Vegas 17 this weekend, but the Briton had to pull out of the fight after testing positive for covid-19.
Stephen Thompson not happy with Khamzat Chimaev’s promotional push
Stephen Thompson feels that UFC hyping up Khamzat Chimaev is a slap in the face of UFC fighters who have been with the promotion longer and have been working harder.
“I think he was ranked No. 15, which doesn’t make sense to me,” Thompson told MMA Junkie. “I know he’s had one fight in the welterweight division, and his opponent (McKee) is 0-2 right now and normally a lightweight, a 155er, so it just doesn’t make sense how this guy can jump past everybody who’s worked their behinds off to get to where they’re at, and now he’s ranked No. 15 fighting the No. 3 guy, I believe. It’s just ridiculous to me.
“I had to fight through murderer’s row to get to where I’m at and so did Leon Edwards,” Thompson added. “He was on a (eight-fight) winning streak to get to where he’s at. I had to fight a slew of guys, I mean tough opponents. Robert Whittaker, Jake Ellenberger, Rory McDonald, Johny Hendricks to get to where I’m at, and then this guy just jumps past everybody. I think it’s a slap in the face to everybody who’s worked their butts off.”
Stephen Thompson also thinks that UFC is promoting Khamzat to fill the deficit formed by Khabib’s retirement.
“Guaranteed he’s probably gonna get a title shot if he beats Leon Edwards, and I kinda called this,” Thompson said. “I was wondering why they were pushing Khamzat so hard, and I was like watch Khabib [Nurmagomedov] retire, because they’re from the same neck of the woods, they got to please that market, so it kinda makes sense why they’re pushing him so hard.”
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