Las Vegas, NV — Khamzat Chimaev is about the headline his first UFC Pay-Per-View, topping this weekend’s UFC 279 card opposite Nate Diaz.
It’s a rare non-title PPV headliner, but the weight of the names involved afford the promotion some leeway in this instance. Diaz is a legend in the fight game, and one of the most popular names on the roster. Chimaev has, for the last couple of years, been the next big thing in MMA.
It’s a big moment for Chimaev (11-0), no doubt. Though as he told media outlets including Cageside Press at the event’s media day on Wednesday, “All moments in UFC are like big moments for me.”
“It feels amazing. I’m fighting Nate Diaz. One of the guys who has been like 15 years in this game. One of the legends,” he added. “Maybe this is his last fight, who knows. I’m happy.”
The popular consensus on the fight, outside of it being something of a mismatch, is that Chimaev has the edge early. If it goes long, that’s where Diaz, with world renowned cardio, could pull ahead. Chimaev isn’t concerned about the fight going the distance, however. He actually appears to prefer it.
“If it goes two hours, I don’t care brother. I’m going to take his head,” Chimaev stated. “What’s he gonna do? At 170— I can fight at heavyweight as well. I don’t think that guy’s gonna survive one round. We’ll see. I hope it lasts like five rounds. It’s good for him to show his heart, go away from the UFC being like a warrior. If I beat him in the first round, everyone will say ‘yeah, the guy is too old. Uncle Diaz got to go home.'”
Despite his upcoming fight with Diaz, Khamzat Chimaev has been in the headlines more for a confrontation with Paulo Costa this week. Asked what happened at the UFC PI that resulted in the pair being separated, “Borz” replied by saying “nothing,” before elaborating just a little.
“Like guy was talking sh*t about me, I never talk about that guy. Maybe he wants something. Maybe he wants to be famous. I don’t know. Israel [Adesanya] f*cked his ass, so what? All the world sees that sh*t. You have to go back and do something with Izzy.”
In regards to a potential fight between the two, Chimaev downplayed the idea. “Why? I don’t fight with that kind of guys. He’s already— somebody f*cked him up, in the ass.”
Watch the full UFC 279 media day appearance by Khamzat Chimaev above.