Khamzat Chimaev: 'I'm levels above Sean Strickland'

If Khamzat Chimaev can get past former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the UFC 294 co-main event on Saturday, he’ll fight for the 185-pound title against champion Sean Strickland.

Chimaev was originally slated to face Paulo Costa but Costa was removed from the fight card after having elbow surgery weeks before the event.  Usman stepped in on late notice as a replacement.

Chimaev and Strickland have trained together, but that’s not going to stand in the way of Chimaev trying to win his first UFC championship.

Related: Sean Strickland apologizes for punching reporter, gives marital advice

“I’ve taken him down.  I’ve held him down.  I’ve choked him.  I’ve punched him.  I’ve done all those things, so I don’t see something special about him,” Chimaev said during the UFC 294 Media Day.  

“He’s a fighter’s fighter.  He’s a good fighter.  If you look at him, he’s like an American cowboy like from the movies.  That’s the kind of guy he is, but we’ve done our work in the gym together.  If they offer him to me, if I can fight him for the belt, that’s what I’ll do, make the money, get the belt.  I have nothing against him.  I think that if you compare us on a skill level-wise, I’m levels above him.  I’m on a whole different stratosphere than him, so he’s not a threat to me.  He’s a good guy.  He’s a good fighter, and if I can I’m ready to fight anybody.  I’m ready to fight anyone, so if there’s a belt there I’ll fight him no problem, even Strickland.”  

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