Exclusive: Robert Whittaker open to training with Khamzat Chimaev, says ‘Borz’ will do ‘very well’ against top 5 middleweights

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  • Robert Whittaker Talk about Victory of Khamzat Chimaev and the possibility of them training together
  • ‘The Reaper’ thinks ‘Borz’ would do well against top 5 middleweights

Rising welterweight star Khamzat Chimaev may have caused a stir at UFC 279 when he missed weight terribly, but he didn’t miss delivering despite a middleweight fighter in Kevin Holland. The Chechen fighter made quick work of Holland, submitting ‘Trailblazer’ in the very first round.

Chimaev’s impressive performance didn’t go unnoticed as he had No. 1 middleweight contender Robert Whittaker raving.

More than just a threat

We recently asked Whittaker to share his thoughts on Chimaev’s win over Holland and what he thinks of ‘Borz’ overall play.

According to ‘The Reaper’, most people see Chimaev’s wild antics, but only a few, including him, notice his commendable “confidence” which has been one of his best assets so far.

“I think a lot of things the fans can’t appreciate and I think only other fighters can appreciate the level of confidence,” Whittaker said of Chimaev. “The degree of confidence that Chimaev needed just had to be like ‘you know what I’m going to knock this guy down and that’s all I do, I’m going’ and like ‘I’m going to outlast him, I’m going to knock him down I’ll hold him back, I’ll do whatever I want with him and I’ll do everything ‘like he just dropped his gas tank, he just invested completely knowing that’s how it was going to be… it was wild, absolutely wild. ”

The feeling is mutual

Chimaev has previously admitted that he is a fan of Whittaker and if possible, he would like to train with him.

Asked about his take on the matter, the former middleweight champion surprisingly replied:

“I’m happy with that…his personality is fair…he’s what you see is what you get…I like his approach to bad guy hunting. I was really impressed with that fight against Holland and yes i am very interested [in training with Chimaev].”

“It’s definitely a compliment,” he added. “I would love to work with him because anyone can implement game plans like he has and obviously he rests and wrestles is top level, he has also trained with people like Till. I hope our paths cross and we can do a good job together.

Borz has what it takes

The win over Holland was the first time Chimaev had beaten a natural middleweight since 2020 and he needed just over two minutes to get the job done. Right now, Whittaker could already tell that “Borz” could take on the best guys in his division, but maybe except him.

“Are you saying he would be successful against me?” [laughs]said Whittaker joking if Chimaev could face the top 5 middleweights. “For sure [he can compete with the top 5] I can’t express enough how insane it was to see him come in and manhandle Holland in this way it was insane and then for him to have the unquestionable conviction and the conference and the skills and the strength and the l stamina to do that is crazy people I don’t realize how hard it is to hold back people who don’t want to be held back…he did it quite easily. He’s a big dude, I’m sure he could do 185 very well.”

Diving into it a bit, Chimaev had already started quite a romance with No. 6 middleweight Paulo Costa following their near-fight incident at UFC PI. If he plans to move back to 185 pounds, it will be interesting to see how this matchup unfolds. Let’s wait and see.


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Richard V. Johnson