Rising UFC middleweight star Khamzat Chimaev stated in a recent interview that he and fellow Muslim UFC star Belal Muhammad are competing on behalf of Muslims worldwide when they step into the Octagon.
“We fight not just for us, like they do. We fight for all Muslims. That’s right,” declared Chimaev in a podcast appearance.
He made the remarks when asked about the anti-Muslim comments posted on Twitter by UFC middleweight Sean Strickland. Strickland launched personal attacks against Muhammad’s faith after Muhammad tweeted “Pray for Palestine.”
Chimaev also revealed that he has previously trained and sparred with Strickland. When asked if Strickland gave him problems during their sparring sessions, Chimaev confidently replied “No.”
He predicted that Strickland would be unable to deal with his dominant wrestling and double leg takedown.
“100 percent. 100 percent. No way,” said Chimaev about whether Strickland could stop his takedowns.
Chimaev explained that he, Muhammad and other Muslim martial artists feel a responsibility to represent their religion and be role models for young Muslims watching them.
“We know, we know that all of all of all of the kids, our kids, their watching, their wants to be like us, and to wants to be the strong people,” he said. “We try to be a good picture for them.”
The undefeated phenom explained that this mindset allows him to stay strong and composed during fights, knowing he is competing for a greater purpose.
“When you believe a lot, it’s always been a lot waiting helping me everywhere. When you get the tough times and handle all the makes me out from everywhere,” Chimaev stated.
So while stars like Strickland may be motivated by personal glory or financial gain, Chimaev made it clear he draws strength from fighting for Muslims struggling around the world.
“We have so much power, when you’re in your heart, when you believe a lot…So it makes me much stronger people when they think about it. So no nothing can make us scared, you know, when I lock with that,” he declared.