That time Khamzat Chimaev flew to Ireland to beat up Conor McGregor
Former BRAVE CF contender Khazmat Chimaev recently debuted in the UFC to widespread attention, earning performance a record-setting 11 days apart, and then called out welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. But during a recent interview with Russian reporter Adam Zubayraev, "Borz" recalled a time he looked for a different champ, a champ champ.
It was 2018 and Conor McGregor had made disparaging remarks about Chechens in general and Khabib Nurmagomedov in particular. So Chimaev, who was living in his adopted home of Sweden, did the natural thing - he ran his mouth on the Internet. NO HE DIDN'T. Chimaev flew to Ireland, with a plan to pretend he was going to help McGregor prepare for the UFC 229 main event vs. Nurmagomedov, and then beat "The Notorious" up.
“At that time, I was fighting as an amateur or a pro record of 1-0 when that happened,” said Chimaev, as translated by Zubayraev. “It is that time when he insulted Khabib, and he also was talking about Zubaira. At that time, nobody knew who I was. He was also talking about another guy who’s also Chechen. I don’t remember his name, but he told us he knocked him out in a sparring session. My mind was blowing up at the moment, but I’m living here very close to him. I was thinking that I would catch him in the streets or at the gym and beat him up. This is what he deserved.”
Chimaev was stopped at the airport, and eventually arrested and sent home without explanation.
“Yes, I landed in Ireland and waited in an airport,” he said. “First, they stopped me a while, and then slightly they told me to go. Then I was going out. When I was going out from the airport, they stopped me again. That time, there were guys literally in uniform. … Yes, there were [special forces], and they told me, ‘You cannot go anywhere.’ But I didn’t get what they meant. At that time, my English was very bad. Even right now, it’s not that good. … They drove me to the police station and kept me for eight hours.
“No, there wasn’t any interrogation at all. I was just kept in a cell. I waited for maybe eight or nine hours. I was doing push-ups and squats. They didn’t even bring me food. Then after a while, they told me, ‘You have to go back to Sweden.’ They continued, ‘We’ll bring you back to the airport where the plane is waiting for you.’ They brought me back to airport and sent me back home.”
“Honestly speaking, I wanted to beat him up. Many people thought I was coming there to help him to prepare for Khabib. … Not only for Khabib. I was coming there to protect our pride and honor. I was going there for all of us. If that would not have happened, I would have maybe thrown, I don’t know, some object. … I think I was able to stand for myself.”
The UFC is currently trying to book Chimaev for a fight at UFC 252 on August 15 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, and if travel restrictions from Europe prevent it, then as soon as possible thereafter.