One "fight week" was enough for Khamzat Chimaev to win the epithet of one of the most hated fighters in the UFC from a well-liked fighter. Many did not like his conflicts with Paulo Costa, Kevin Holland, and Nate Diaz, as well as his overall approach to making statements and addressing the public.
Everything culminated at the official weigh-in before the UFC 279 event. Chimaev exceeded the upper limit of the welterweight category by 3.40 kilograms and the match against Nate Diaz was dropped. Kevin Holland saved the day by accepting a match against Chimaev, and so did Tony Ferguson who accepted a match against Nate Diaz.
Despite the huge drop on the scale, Chimaev was smiling at the official weigh-in and didn't seem upset at all. At the ceremonial weigh-in, he was greeted with whistles and protests from the audience, and he reciprocated by showing the "middle finger"
In the end, he performed the match convincingly, he passed Kevin Holland in a little more than two minutes, and then, in the middle of Las Vegas, he yelled at the microphone: "This is Chechnya!"
There are those who believe that this is a good marketing move and that Chimaeva should now fully push the role of the villain.
However, Khabib Nurmagomedov is not thrilled with such behavior. “If you are a Muslim, you should have good people around you,” Nurmagomedov said during a fundraiser for Pakistani flood relief (translation via Bloody Elbow).
“Muslims who can say ‘Hey, don’t do this.’ I recently watched the weigh-in of Khamzat Chimaev. I followed what was happening with his weight and looked at his team. There are no Muslims around him and this is very bad.
Because if you are a Muslim, you need good, strong people around you that will say ‘Come back, do this.' ” Khabib is normally a fighter who very often uses the opportunity to emphasize correct moral values and is not an advocate of "trash talk" or any form of insults.
Of course, mistakes sneak up on him too. The incident after the victory over Conor is also not something that Khabib can boast about. Also, with these statements, Khabib could draw criticism from those who will get the impression that he discriminates against all those who are not Muslims, but Nurmagomedov actually advises Chimaev to surround himself with people who are strong in faith, because he believes that such people would keep Chimaev under control.
“When you become famous and rich, when you gain power and there are no people who will give advice or you do not listen to them, then something will happen,” Khabib concluded. “You need good people, even if you don’t like it, you need them”.