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26 Jul, 2022 11:08

Chechen sensation will ‘eat UFC gangster for breakfast’

Khamzat Chimaev has predicted an early conclusion to his UFC 279 headliner with Nate Diaz
Chechen sensation will ‘eat UFC gangster for breakfast’

UFC welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev has said his upbringing as a Chechen “child of war” means he will dismantle so-called “gangster” Nate Diaz when they face off in the main event of UFC 279 in Las Vegas.

Fans and pundits were both thrilled and concerned when the UFC confirmed that it had booked the undefeated Chimaev against veteran Diaz to top the bill at the T-Mobile Arena on September 10.

The contest will be the last for Diaz on his current UFC contract and could be the final time fans see the 37-year-old icon inside the Octagon.

The Stockton native has fought just once in the past two-and-a-half years, suffering a unanimous decision defeat to Leon Edwards in June of 2021.

In contrast, Chimaev is undefeated in five UFC outings since bursting onto the scene in the summer of 2020.

He last claimed a thrilling decision victory against former title contender Gilbert Burns in a three-round slugfest back in April.

The prospect of the surging Chimaev taking on the game-but-ageing Diaz has led to fears that although the contest might look fan-friendly, it could be an extremely violent mismatch in Chimaev’s favor as he presses towards a shot at the title currently owned by Kamaru Usman.  

Chimaev, 28, has already vowed to arrange Diaz’s “funeral” with the UFC, and issued further threats on Monday.

“I still don’t believe that guy’s going to come and show up,” Chimaev told The MMA Hour, as reported by MMA Fighting.

“I’m just waiting for the 10th of September – it doesn’t matter who.

“If he wants to fight [185 pounds], then we can do that... just show up. I can fight [at 185 or 205 pounds], it doesn’t matter.”

Chimaev suggested he had a healthy respect for Diaz as a “legend” of the game, but that his reputation as “gangster” did not faze him.

“The guy just fights and fights. He’s still dangerous. He fights to the last second, and I’m happy he’s fighting with me,” said ‘Borz’, who hails from Chechnya but now fights out of Sweden.

“He’s one of the legends, like everyone saying, ‘gangster, gangster.’ I’m going to show who’s the gangster. Like I said before, we’re from Chechnya, we grow up [with] the war, and we eat the gangsters for breakfast.”

Chimaev added that he “liked” Diaz, having watched the 33-fight veteran while growing up.

“I was in school when he was fighting in the UFC. It’s amazing to fight that guy, and I like him because for me UFC, when I was young, it was like the movies. Like, I’m not going to get there, I’m just going to see it,” said Chimaev, who boasts an unblemished 11-0 career record.

“Now, I fight with the guys that I was watching. American guys, from Chechnya I watched them. Now, I fight with them.”

Chimaev said his game plan was straightforward, promising he would “just go in and smash his face,” while predicting that the main event certainly wouldn’t see all five rounds.

“One round, two rounds… we’ll see,” said Chimaev, adding that if Nate Diaz doesn’t appear, he could just as easily take on his brother and fellow UFC icon, Nick.

“We’ll see what Diaz is going to do. If he [doesn’t] show up, I’ll wait for his brother,” said Chimaev ominously.

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