Khamzat Chimaev was hailed as the second coming of Khabib Nurmagomedov when he burst onto the scene with dominant performances and quick turnarounds during his initial run in the UFC. Chimaev displayed similar aggression, grappling prowess and spoke in the marquee accent that Khabib popularized in the UFC.
To make things more interesting, the timeline of Chimaev's rise coincided with Khabib's departure from the global MMA scene in the year 2020. However, it turns out that people saw similarities between Khabib and Chimaev long before that.
During his appearance on the Full Send Podcast, Khamzat Chimaev reminisced a story from 2018. 'Borz' worked as a security guard for several establishments like chicken factories and bars or restaurants to fund his training before becoming a world-renowned mixed martial artist.
Chimaev was mistaken as Khabib by a group of drunk men at one of the bars that Chimaev used to work in. He said:
“When Khabib and Conor fought, I was that day on the work. The guys come out, they were too drunk and I put them out. They said that ‘F*** Khabib.’ I said, ‘I'm not Khabib. Go away.’ The were thinking I was Khabib. They were too drunk. [I thought] ‘Khabib fought today. What are you talking about?’”
Watch Khamzat Chimaev share the story from the 1:50 mark of the video below:
Although Khamzat Chimaev and Khabib Nurmagomedov have similar grappling-heavy fighting styles, they are not teammates nor do they belong to the same region. Khabib was born and brought up in the Dagestan autonomous region of Russia. He was trained by his father Abdulmanap Numagomedov and joined hands with the American Kickboxing Academy in the USA later.
Meanwhile, Chimaev belongs to Chechnya and shifted to Sweden relatively early in life. He trained at the Allstar gym in Sweden that has produced elite fighters like Alexander Gustafsson and Ilir Latifi.
Khamzat Chimaev shifted the base to UAE in 2023
After spending over a decade in Sweden, Khamzat Chimaev left the country earlier this year due to his disagreements with the taxation system of the country and certain laws pertaining to freedom of speech.
Chimaev has been given the UAE citizenship and he has since shifted his training camp to Dubai. The Chechen fighter completed his first training camp in the country for UFC 294. The event took place in Abu Dhabim, where ‘Borz’ defeated former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman after a closely contested three-round fight.