LAS VEGAS – Dana White says he made an exception when double booking Khamzat Chimaev.
Chimaev (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), who took the MMA world by storm this summer when he ran through two opponents in just 10 days, has already been booked for his next two fights.
Chimaev will face Gerald Meerschaert on Sept. 19 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, and should he win, he will face former two-time UFC title challenger Demian Maia.
While many are viewing the double booking as disrespect towards Meerschaert, White says he’s simply fulfilling Chimaev’s desire to actively compete.
“The thing is, the guy wants to keep fighting,” he said at the Dana White’s Contender Series 32 post-fight news conference Tuesday. “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.”
It’s a unique circumstance for the unbeaten All Stars Gym prospect, but White has been extremely impressed with Chimaev thus far. “Borz” has used his grappling to dominate both John Phillips and Rhys McKee and has come out completely unscathed from both outings.
“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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