Chimaev emerged as a budding prospect by dismantling John Phillips, outstriking “The Welsh Wrecking Machine” 43-to-2 and submitting him in the second round via D’Arce choke. Just 11 days later, Chimaev set the UFC record for the quickest turnaround victory by defeating newcomer Rhys McKee by first-round TKO on UFC Fight Island 3. Not only did Chimaev defeat McKee, but he completely dominated him, landing 68 strikes while his opponent didn’t even get on the scoreboard.

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It was clear that Chimaev had become the star of UFC’s Fight Island but even though he completely outclassed Phillips and McKee, many still questioned if he was ready to compete with the UFC’s best.

On September 19, Chimaev moved up to middleweight to face respected UFC veteran Gerald Meerschaert at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. It was Chimaev’s opportunity to beat a well-known opponent with six UFC wins under his belt. And boy did “Borz” deliver.

Chimaev needed just 17 seconds and one punch to knock Meerschaert out, and just like that, he proved that he is the real deal. Those three stellar performances and Chimaev’s “fight anyone at any time” attitude launched the 26-year-old Swede into the limelight.

The instant stardom would be overwhelming for many, but if you ask the undefeated Chimaev, it’s what he’s always expected.

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