Khamzat Chimaev is back. The Swedish breakout star will fight ranked welterweight contender Li Jingliang at UFC 267 this October, more than a year after his latest jaw-dropping performance inside the octagon.
Earlier this summer it was reported that Chimaev had turned down a fight versus the former 185 champ Luke Rockhold.
So what really happened? According to Khamzat, he himself accepted the fight, but in the end it all came down to what his coach and manager wanted.
“I said coach, I can knock this guy out. But if my coach and manager don’t want this fight, then I listen to these guys. But I accepted it all,” Khamzat Chimaev tells Frontkick.
Khamzat’s coach Andreas Michael at Allstars Training Center in Stockholm, Sweden explains the reasoning behind the decision. He says that they opted to fight Jingliang over Rockhold as they want Khamzat Chimaev to focus on one division – in this case welterweight.
“It’s not that we don’t want the fight. But we want to choose a weight class, and then go for the belt in that weight. We don’t have a problem fighting anyone, but it has to be in one weight, and going for the belt. If we jump up and down, left and right, we’re never going to get that belt. So we have a mission – we need to get the belt, Andreas Michael says.
The upcoming fight with Li Jingliang will mark Khamzat Chimaevs first appearance inside the octagon since he demolished veteran Gerald Meerschart in just 17 seconds in september last year.
Watch the full interview with Khamzat Chimaev below!
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