‘It’s impossible to respect him’: UFC star Chimaev slates McGregor, reveals work as security guard during famous Nurmagomedov win
Chechen-born UFC fighter Khamzat Chimaev has admitted that he finds it "impossible to respect" brash former champion Conor McGregor, who he watched lose to Khabib Nurmagomedov during his days working as a security guard.
Feared brawler Chimaev finally makes his return to action after more than 13 months out on October 30, facing Li Jingliang in a welterweight bout at UFC 267 as he continues what he hopes will be an emulation of Nurmagomedov's title-winning career.
The unbeaten Swedish sensation also admires McGregor, the man Nurmagomedov famously beat in October 2018 – although he is conflicted by the braggart Irishman's provocative persona.
“Do I like Conor exactly as an athlete?" 'Borz' asked ZubaTV, via Championat translation.
"Yes, he achieved everything in the UFC – he was a champion in two weight classes. This I respect with him. But it is impossible to respect him as a person."
Chimaev was regarded as one of the UFC's finest prospects – not least by promotion president Dana White, who handed him two fights at different weights in ten days to start his career in July 2020 – only to be hampered by a bad bout of Covid.
Now 27, he beat established fight Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds on his US debut last September, before his frustrating enforced layoff caused him to claim he had quit the sport.
White and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov were among those to claim they had persuaded Chimaev not to retire, and he is now looking forward to moving further away from his beginnings as a bouncer in a nightclub and an Irish restaurant, where he worked when McGregor and Nurmagomedov clashed at UFC 229.
"Three redheads come in – I don't know [if they are] Irish [or] not Irish," Chimaev recalled.
"If a person is too drunk, I cannot [let] him in. Because of this, I [told] them: 'Come tomorrow, boys – you can't today.'
"I worked there for six months, then I got bored. People are drunk and dirty. In general, I wanted to get a job as a firefighter.
"I thought I would learn Swedish and, if nothing worked out with sports, I would work as a firefighter."
The three-time Swedish wrestling champion pictured himself training at the country's Allstars Training Center with the likes of Georgian UFC fighter Guram Kutateladze last week.Also on rt.com Russian sensation Chimaev set for octagon return after Covid-enforced absence with spot on stacked UFC 267 card