UFC president Dana White had more rave reviews for Khamzat Chimaev after his devastating knockout of Gerald Meerschaert on Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 36.
Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) added to his hype when he starched Meerschaert (30-14 MMA, 6-6 UFC) in just 17 seconds for his third successful trip to the octagon in 66 days. Chimaev also earned his third “Performance of the Night” bonus in as many fights. He’s made a splash on the big scene like few others in recent years, and White said the performance at UFC Apex in Las Vegas only further validated his feelings on the top prospect.
“The guy’s special,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at UFC on ESPN+ 36. “I’ve been in this game my whole life, I’ve never seen anything like him. He’s special, he’s different and he wants to fight again. I’ve never been in a position where I’m like, ‘Who’s next? How do we get him a fight? How do we get him over here, how do we get him over there? How do we do this, how do we do that?’ It’s fun and I like it and I think when you’re a fight fan a guy like this is who you love to watch and follow and hate and whatever it might be. This guy is one of the most special fighters I’ve ever seen, if not the most special guy that I’ve ever come across.”
Coming into UFC on ESPN+ 36, one of the top storylines was around Chimaev being booked for two fights at once. He had the fight against Meerschaert, then was publicly announced to be matched up with former two-time title challenger Demian Maia sometime in October.
White said the latest performance might have slightly altered plans. He said he’s seeing talk about giving Chimaev an even greater push than a matchup with Maia, an undeniably accomplished fighter at the tail end of his career, and he said he’s not opposed to the notion.
“That’s what everybody is saying,” White said. “This guy is special, man. It’s true. … I don’t know what I do with him yet. He might fight before Maia and fight Maia, too. Maia’s not going to be ready in time for this kid.”