A fight between Conor McGregor and Khamzat Chimaev would be a case of the UFC striking while the iron is hot.
Alright, let’s get it out of the way immediately. We’re going to wrap our heads around the thought of Conor McGregor vs. undefeated 8-0 UFC newcomer Khamzat Chimaev. What absolutely ridiculous and illogical matchmaking that that is, right? It feels safe to assume that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone following the sport to disagree. However… in these current times – and perhaps only in these times – that is exactly why it’s crazy enough to work.
At UFC Fight Island 1, the Chechnya-born Chimaev completely dominated in his promotional debut. Matched with the 30-fight veteran and bruising brawler from Wales, John Phillips, Chimaev would out land his opposition in strikes with a whopping 124 to 2 before sinking in a tight D’arce choke to force the tap.
A mere 10 days later and Chimaev got back into the Octagon at UFC Fight Island 4. In doing so, he became a record holder by scoring the quickest successful turnaround win in UFC history. The win came at the expense of another newcomer in Rhys McKee who couldn’t land a single shot on his smothering foe. Thus leading to Chimaev connecting with 68 strikes before the referee had seen enough.
In the span of 10 days, fighting and smashing his record to 8-0 firstly at middleweight then welterweight, “Borz” had become the hottest thing in MMA. Videos of him on YouTube from the same day have out viewed the likes of every other fighter. Including names like former and current champions Robert Whittaker and Petr Yan.
Now, as for the second half of this hypothetical equation…
Ireland’s favorite fighting son in McGregor is a former lightweight and featherweight UFC champion. Though he has, and most recently, fought at welterweight – which is the division Chimaev seemingly plans to stick with going forward. Either way, the All-Stars Gym product is proving to be an “anywhere, any place, any time” type of fighter. And of course, who wouldn’t want that McGregor payday?
Conor McGregor vs. Khamzat Chimaev is crazy enough to work
Chimaev’s pairing of first two performances in the UFC were legitimately flawless. Even though they really weren’t against the most notable of opponents, his domination was so impressive that the likes of UFC president Dana White are touting him as something “special”.
White even went as far as to respond to a question asking if Chimaev was ready for welterweight champion Kamaru Usman with a “maybe”. Stylistically, the 26-year old has resembled that of a larger version of the UFC lightweight king, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Speaking of Nurmagomedov, the connection with Chimaev is there outside of just their similarities as fighters.
One of the hotter stories to come out alongside everything else with Chimaev has been one that details the Sweden resident’s attempt to track down and “beat up” McGregor in Ireland prior to the clash with Nurmagomedov. The reason for this being a reaction to McGregor’s insults towards Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov.
How true that story is is anyone’s guess, but it sure is a wild one to imagine… In addition, we’ve since seen McGregor make comments about Chimaev. Taking to Instagram after Chimaev’s debut, McGregor commented (before deleting it) “Rat lip” on a post about the stellar performance.
Just today, we got some timely cryptic tweeting from “The Notorious” as he said “I accept!” after Chimaev made callouts to several of the UFC’s most notable stars – McGregor included.
This is very likely just a bunch of nonsense and banter as we’ve grown used to seeing from McGregor on Twitter. We aren’t actually going to see this fight… but… maybe we should…
Listen, any fight that the UFC gives McGregor will be massive and a big drawing event. That’s just the effect that he has. Whether he’s coming off of a win or a loss. And at this moment in time, he’s coming off a pretty damn good showing of his own.
Chimaev is blazing red hot right now and is the talk of the town to rare degrees. Prospects never go from virtually unknown to this level of popular as quickly as he has. Let’s put it this way, the casual audience is more aware of him than they typically are of your general impressive prospect. And for good reason.
If the UFC put the two together for a fight, it’s not like it would do bad numbers business-wise. In fact, it might even do much better than one would initially expect.
They’d be getting to do a unicorn of an experiment. On one side, it’s the megastar. The guy who will bring in dollar signs galore, no matter who it’s against. The other side, it’s a guy who has exploded onto the scene and those that now know of him are very, very excited, and the incredible potential is evident. Then, you have that extra allure in the matchup due to the fact that there still are plenty of people that don’t know about Chimaev.
The UFC would capture added attention by having many casual fans be curious just to see who the hell McGregor was being matched with and why. Therefore giving Chimaev a big chance to show them at the leisure of the UFC is willing to strap a rocket to his back.
Unfortunately for “Borz” when it comes to this possibly happening any time soon, the risk vs. reward factor is completely in his favor and that doesn’t really need any explaining as to why. A loss really wouldn’t hurt him much as he’d lose to a former champion. A win just catapults him into that next stratosphere of superstardom and would do so in record time. “Overnight sensation” would be an understatement.
Maybe the craziest thought of all, on paper stylistically… he is a nightmare for McGregor just like McGregor’s heated rival in Nurmagomedov.
To circle back to the intro, this fight makes no sense. And that’s actually why it makes sense right now. Talk about MMA in a nutshell… sheesh.
It’s random ridiculous fun in the midst of one of the most unique times in the world. McGregor probably isn’t fighting any time soon, especially with no crowds being a reality in the sporting world today. On top of that, the fight wouldn’t do much for him outside of him getting to stop a ferocious hype train while a potential lightweight title shot sorts itself out in the meantime.
Ultimately, the UFC trying to make McGregor vs. Chimaev would be them hoping to strike during a time where the iron is exceptionally hot in a way that is not seen all too often, if ever.