One of pro wrestler Chris Jericho's gimmicks, and then former UFC double champion Henry Cejudo was putting people on "The List". Well, the scorching red hot welterweight and middleweight Khamzat Chimaev is now following suit.
With a proposed yet still unofficially signed fight on the board with 6th ranked welterweight Demian Maia, he has set his sight on another target. This time it's Stephen Thompson, who had just made his call out of Leon Edwards.
Then Khamzat Chimaev posted this, highlighting his struggles:
And he is getting the "Nah, I'd rather not fight that guy" type of response because as of now he looks unbeatable. Future Hall Of Famer Daniel Cormier went as far as to go out on a ledge and say by the end of 2021, he might be champion of both 170 and 185 divisions.
Khamzat Chimaev wants Stephen Thompson
Well, world-beater or not, Khamzat Chimaev still has a lot to prove. Forget about the top five in each division, the champions (his Dominance MMA stablemate) Kamaru Usman, and Israel Adesanya look like they will be holding the titles for a little bit longer.
Usman's wrestling is solid, and although there isn't a resume filled with knockouts (he does have 7), or submission finishes (just one there); he'd be tough. But the Swedish Khamzat Chimaev has age and an impressive stat list on his side.
However, the 26-year-old has yet to be put into deep waters. We just don't know how Chimaev would handle being put in tough situations. And there are a handful of fighters that can put him into the abyss. Only then can we see how complete and dangerous he truly is.
Is Khamzat Chimaev more Sage Northcutt and Tom Duquesnoy or is he more Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov? Despite him saying he doesn't want to be compared to anyone.
Does Khamzat Chimaev have homerun power like a Francis Ngannou? No. But he's accurate and short with his shots. The right hand to Gerald Meerschaert came in so fast that GM3 couldn't get out of the way. Either could Rhys McKee before that.
That precision striking would be more then met equally by Israel Adesanya. That's the middleweight's game. Movement and laser fire. Kelvin Gastelum pushed him better than anyone has, and Chimaev is at least two levels above him, thanks to perfectly landed strikes.
But again, he hasn't been tested. Would Adesanya take the fight to the ground? That's tough to call, out of his 19 wins, not one has been by submission. Then again the middleweight champion has to first dodge bombs this weekend from Paulo Costa. But that fight since middleweight is truly where Khamzat should be and it would be one of the most interesting chess matches in a long time.
But back to "Wonderboy". That's a tough fight for Stephen Thompson. Especially at the age of 37. Ever since his two battles with Tyron Woodley, it looks like he's lost a little off his fastball.
Thompson is a sit back counter striker, and the likelihood he could move away from a Chimaev strike and fire back successfully is tough to see. Stephen loves to fight at kicking range, but that's where Chimaev would most likely bring the action to the mat.
One way or another Khamzat Chimaev will make sure that everyone in both divisions gets notice that a new hungry dog is in the yard. And if he's able to jump the line, and take out a mid-top ten fighter now, he would be hard for the UFC to not give him a top 3 opponent. And that means just 2 wins till a possible title shot.Published 23 Sep 2020, 21:48 IST