UFC contenders Khamzat Chimaev and Guram Kutateladze have spoken on their ambitions for the future and potential meetings with the likes of loudmouths Colby Covington and Paddy Pimblett respectively.
The pair were speaking to Red Corner MMA in Abu Dhabi prior to UFC 267 fight weekend, and while the 10-0 Chimaev said that he likes “to be in the USA” where there are “nice” and “funny” people, the UAE is a Muslim country and therefore makes him feel more at home.
Of his Georgian stablemate Kutateladze, with whom he trains in Sweden at the Allstars gym after relocating from Chechnya, Chimaev joked: “He is still losing his hair. I feel sorry for him, he is becoming old now. He is still 21 in his heart.”
“[I have the] brain [of a] 65[-year-old],” quipped lightweight contender Kutateladze.
“After my fight [an impressive first round win against Li Jingliang] we are going to focus on his fight and find some opponents,” revealed Chimaev. “We will work on that.”
For Kutateladze, one of the biggest scalps out there to make a name for himself by claiming belongs to newcomer Paddy Pimblett.
After the Liverpool fighter became embroiled in a Twitter war with his countrymen for insulting Georgia, Kutateladze could have taken matters personally but has so far refused to engage in a war of words despite begging for a match up with him.
“People talk. He is uneducated and disrespectful,” he stated.
“I was watching his fights,” Chimaev admitted. “He’s a strong guy but nothing special. I don’t think he’s on our level. I feel sorry for him he fights with Guram.
“We are so hungry,” said Chimaev, who was speaking before his demolition of China’s Li Jingliang on Saturday night.
“People don’t know what is coming now. I want to fight with everyone, like top ten [at welterweight]. If I beat ten guys and become 20-0, I will go up and beat guys at 84 kilos [middleweight]. We will see what happens. I have my plans, Guram has his plans.
For Chimaev, beating former welterweight title challenger Covington, who takes on current division ruler Kamaru Usman in a rematch at Madison Square Garden next weekend, would also see him rise up the pecking order.
Yet Chimaev claims: “I don’t know this guy.”
“I swear I forgot his name today. He says he broke his jaw in his [defeat] against Kamaru Usman. All I can see is a stupid American bullsh*t boy. I’m coming for you too, bro,” he warned.
On his popularity on social media, Chimaev said: “It doesn’t matter who doesn’t follow me on Instagram. I don’t care about that. If people love me, I respect them, I love them back. If they hate me, I feel sorry for these guys [because] I’m going to win this belt.”
And while Kutateladze claims he hopes to fight “at the beginning of next year”, Chimaev said it “depends what fights they want to give me at 170” before explaining the difficulties he has encountered finding opponents.
“I have to listen to my coach, my manager. We are a big team, like family. I respect these guys, but when they call me and say, ‘Do you want to fight?’
“I say, ‘Of course, I’m going to knock him out.’ They said, ‘You could have a fight, Kevin Holland, in maybe two weeks.’ Then Kevin Holland said no.
“Then there is [ex-middleweight champion Luke] Rockhold: this guy lost his last fight, [so] if I win against him, if I knock him out then they will say, ‘Oh, he was already done.’ I respect him, he was one of the best fighters in the world but now he’s become a little bit old. I feel sorry for him,” Chimaev finished.
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