Khamzat Chimaev’s Feats Are Impressive But Don’t Forget The Past

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  • Khamzat Chimaev has won three UFC bouts during a 66-day period.
  • He is the fastest fighter to win three fights in the UFC’s modern era.
  • Royce Gracie won three fights in one night at UFC 1 and then won four in one setting at UFC 2.

Khamzat Chimaev is filling MMA headlines with his quick turnaround exploits in the UFC. The UFC newcomer fought two times in 10 days last July and then returned to the octagon again last week to pick up his third win in 66 days, which is a UFC “record”.

But while his fans, including UFC President Dana White, have been glorifying his feats, UFC referee Big John McCarthy was quick to dispute the UFC’s claims:

McCarthy has a point. In the early days of the UFC when they used the tournament format, winning fighters fought multiple times during one day as they advanced to the next round. So if a fighter wins a tournament, he would’ve fought several times in a single day.

Royce Gracie Did It Three Times

That was the case with the legend, Royce Gracie who won the inaugural UFC tournament. Gracie fought three times at UFC 1, submitting Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock, and Gerard Gordeau on his way to becoming the first UFC tournament champion. Heck, Gracie even returned to UFC 2 four months later to win four bouts in one night to become back to back UFC tournament champions.

Gracie would add to his legend by winning the tournament for the third time at UFC 4. In that tournament, Gracie once again won three bouts in one evening to become champion in three out of the first four UFC events. Now that’s impressive. But if that format was still here today, who knows if Chimaev could’ve done the same. No doubt, the kid is tough.

But going back to the old school format, that has been discontinued as it was not a sustainable one. These days, UFC fighters typically fight after three months or so. Some have quick turnaround of say a month, when they replace fighters on short notice. Chimaev though, asked to be booked again after his Performance of the Night Bonus winner against John Phillips.

Modern Era Record

The UFC booked him to a fight 10 days later and he went on to knock out Rhys McKee inside one round. It’s worth noting that Chimaev absorb just two total strikes against Phillips and then was unscathed against McKee. He also earned Performance of the Night honors for his stoppage of McKee.

After his twin victories in Abu Dhabi, Chimaev started to get noticed. At the Contender Series 32 post-fight post conference earlier this month, a “fascinated” Dana White confirmed that a “double-booking” was made for Chimaev. The 26-year old was tabbed to fight Gerald Meerschaert in a middleweight bout in September and a welterweight fight against Demian Maia if he beat GM3.

Last week, Chimaev knocked out Meerschaert in 17 seconds and so he is expected to face Maia next. BetOnline says that Borz is a -500 favorite to beat Maia and that is no surprise considering he knocked out a legit middleweight last weekend.

After beating Meerschaert, the UFC was quick to point out that Chimaev is the fastest fighter to win three fights, doing so in 66 days. When he picked up two wins in two week at Yas Island, they were also fast to say that his 10 day turnaround was the fastest between two wins. When the UFC said both were records, they were referring to modern day records.

Failed To Qualify Its Statement

But the UFC failed to qualify its statement on Chimaev’s latest achievement and that’s why Big John took exception. Take a look at this Tweet from the UFC’s partner ESPN:

Let’s not debate why that Tweet was what it is. It could be ESPN who erred or maybe the UFC really intended to write it that way. With the way Dana White has been enamored by this new prospect, the promotion has been pulling all the strings to boost his stock. White has even gone on record to say that Chimaev is “the most special fighter he’s ever seen.”
That’s sweet Uncle Dana but it could be too early to say that.

Chimaev has fought only 9 times in the pro ranks and three times in the amateurs. He’s won all nine bouts by stoppage. In three UFC bouts, he’s been hit with only two significant strikes, and was untouched in two of those. That is really very impressive but the better the opposition gets, the tougher fights will be. At some point, he’s going to take hits, then bigger shots, and later damage. How he absorbs punishment or recovers from it, remains to be seen. And that’s what’s going to make him one of the greats, if ever.

As for records, Royce Gracie won 7 fights in 119 days or an average of 17 days turnaround per fight. Chimaev’s feat is 3 wins in 66 days or 22 days in between victories. Sure Chimaev’s achievements are impressive in the modern day UFC. But don’t forget the past just to hype up an untested commodity.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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