Fighting Khamzat Chimaev has been challenging for all nine of his opponents, but training with the Swede might be even harder, Darren Stewart revealed.
Before Chimaev even fought in the UFC, Stewart went out to Allstars Gym in Sweden to get some training. When he was there, he was training with a relatively unknown undefeated prospect in Chimaev. During the training session, Stewart knew the Swede was special and revealed the plethora of injuries he sustained from sparring with him.
“I know people sit there and say he hasn’t fought certain people,” Stewart said of Chimaev on AbzTalks. “He hasn’t yet. But look here, bro, the guy took a filling out of my tooth, just by cranking my neck.
“He’s so strong, bruv. You could sit there and say, ‘It’s not about strength,’ and this. Brother, he’s so technical and so strong. I was grappling with him, and my ear ripped,” Stewart said. “Then he had to come put tape around my head. It was mad.”
After the training session, Stewart says he wasn't surprised to see how much success Chimaev has had.
Khamzat Chimaev's UFC run
Chimaev stepped up on short notice on Fight Island against John Phillips at middleweight and dominated the fight. He used his wrestling and vicious ground and pound to batter the Welsh fighter, eventually sinking in a choke in the second round. If that wasn't impressive enough, he then fought ten days later, at welterweight, and did the same thing to Rhys McKee but this time he won by TKO.
After the ten-day stint on Fight Island, Chimaev became a massive star and made his Las Vegas debut against Gerald Meerscheart. It was supposed to be the toughest test of his career, but he passed with flying colours as he scored a one-punch KO just 17 seconds into the fight.
Chimaev will now headline the January 20 Fight Night card against Leon Edwards. If he can get past Edwards, he will likely be fighting for the belt next time out.
What's next for Darren Stewart?
Darren Stewart, meanwhile, hasn't fought since he dropped a split decision to Kevin Holland back in September. Before that, he submitted Maki Pitolo to get back into the win column after losing a decision to Bartosz Fabinski.
In his UFC tenure, the Brit is 5-6 with one no-contest. The loss to Fabinski took place in Cage Warriors but was a UFC-sanctioned fight.Published 28 Dec 2020, 23:50 IST