Dana White: UFC fighters are '100 percent' afraid of Khamzat Chimaev and 'I don't blame them'
UFC president Dana White wholeheartedly believes Khamzat Chimaev is a force to be reckoned with.
White has been very high on Chimaev (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) since the moment he splashed on the UFC scene to earn two victories in a 10-day stretch back in July 2020. The momentum was slowed when Chimaev needed more than a year off to recover from COVID-19 and other health issues, but he recently returned with a reminder.
Chimaev dominated Li Jingliang at UFC 267 in October en route to a first-round submission win. He’s been red-hot in the aftermath of that fight, making headlines with callouts of everyone from Colby Covington to Brock Lesnar.
There’s nothing about Chimaev that’s a misrepresentation, at least according to White.
“Khamzat Chimaev is one of the baddest dudes that I’ve ever come across and is literally willing to fight anyone and doesn’t care what the timeframe is or any of that stuff,” White told “The Jim Rome Podcast” on Wednesday. “He’s one of the baddest dudes that I’ve ever come across.”
White is currently working on securing Chimaev’s next fight, he said. He hopes to announce it this week, but stopped short of naming an opponent until the matchup is finalized.
White doesn’t want to jump the gun, because he said it’s legitimately difficult to secure an opponent for the unbeaten rising star. Numerous fighters such as Gilbert Burns and Neil Magny have publicly expressed a willingness to take the fight, but White said when it comes to Chimaev, nothing is real until contracts are signed.
“Nobody wants to fight this guy,” White said. “Everybody wants to get out on social media and say this or say that. But when it really comes down to it, nobody’s trying to fight Khamzat Chimaev. I don’t blame them. But at the end of the day when you’re a professional fighter – this is what you do – you should look at a guy with as much hype and as much bravado as Chimaev has, as a huge opportunity.”
When asked directly if fighters are purposely shying away from fighting Chimaev, the UFC boss couldn’t have been more definitive in his response.
“Yes, 100 percent (guys are afraid of him),” White said. “100 percent.”