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Khamzat
Chimaev
is currently one of the hottest young talents in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship, but the promotion’s plan of

double booking
the prospect seems presumptuous to say the
least.

That’s how Chimaev’s first opponent, Gerald
Meerschaert
sees it. Chimaev and Meerschaert are slated to meet
at UFC Fight Night 178 on Sept. 19. The Allstars Training Center
representative is then expected to square off against jiu-jitsu ace
Demian
Maia
at an event later this year.

“It’s disrespect. He’s got to get through me,” Meerschaert recently
told ESPN.
“I’m tied for the record for most submissions in the middleweight
division. I’m a dangerous fighter; I’m a game fighter. And look, I
get it: He’s undefeated, he’s young. He fights just like Khabib,
who’s on a hot streak right now and has a big following. I’m pretty
sure he took the two closest fights back to back probably in UFC
history. A lot of steam coming in behind his name.

“I’m not undefeated. I’m not gonna be the blue-chip prospect. But
you know what I can do? I can be The Miracle on Ice. I can be
Cinderella Man. If you want to watch somebody that’s scratched and
clawed to get where they’re at, then watch me. I’ve got the blood,
sweat under my fingernails just from trying to fight my way back in
it.”

Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White believes Chimaev already has
earned the right to have two fights scheduled ahead of time.
Chimaev already has plenty of hype behind him after scoring
dominant victories in the Octagon against John
Phillips
and Rhys McKee
in less than two week’s time.

“The thing is, the guy wants to keep fighting,” White said
following the Contender Series on Tuesday night. “He wants all
these fights back-to-back. It’s no disrespect to his opponent, he’s
either going to win or lose. That has nothing to do with us. That’s
up to them, but to do that, for him to really fight two fights in a
row, you have to book him. And for a guy like him, I would never do
that for somebody else. I’d be like, ‘Relax. Let’s see if you get
through this fight,’ but what I’ve seen from him, I’m willing to do
that with him.”

Meerschaert represents a step up for Chimaev, both in terms of
weight class and in experience. The 32-year-old Roufusport product
has compiled a 31-13 mark since his professional debut in 2007.
That resume also includes 11 bouts in the UFC. Meerschaert believes
he can give Chimaev his first real taste of adversity.

All these young kids coming up that thing if they can get by with
eight perfect wins like that, it’s not gonna happen,” Meerschaert
said. “”He has never met resistance in any of his UFC fights. Every
time he goes out there he just runs right through people. What’s
gonna happen when Khamzat runs into somebody that doesn’t do
exactly what he wants? What’s gonna happen when he tries to play
out his game plan and what he wants to do turns into a nightmare?
And that’s what we’re gonna find out.”

White can see how someone might view the situation as disrespectful
to Chimaev’s first opponent. However, the UFC boss is confident
that Chimaev is the rare type of talent who can handle such
pressure.

“It’s fascinating,” White said. “We’ve never really had anybody
that’s doing anything like he is right now. So I could see why you
would say, ‘Don’t you think this is disrespectful booking a fight
for him when he’s got a fight?’ but that’s how you have to do it.
It’s interesting, I like it, and I’ve never had a guy like
this.

“It’s fun, I’ll play this game with him. After what I saw in his
first two fights – he fought real guys, he didn’t fight chumps.
This isn’t a guy who blew through a couple of set-up fights. He
beat real people, and I’m going to see how it plays out.”

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