Khamzat Chimaev was Sweden’s biggest UFC star. Yet the rumor has it, he is set to represent a new nation in his upcoming event on October 21 at UFC 294.
Chimaev, who has previously competed under the Swedish flag, has now officially emigrated to the United Arab Emirates, marking a significant shift in his national affiliation. This transition was confirmed by his manager, Majdi Shammas, in an interview with SVT Sport.
Chimaev, a 29-year-old MMA sensation, has garnered substantial attention for his impressive record, winning all twelve of his UFC bouts. However, this move to change his national identity has raised questions about his motivation and intentions.
When asked about the reasons behind this shift, Shammas simply stated, “He wants to emigrate.” This decision has been made just in time for his highly anticipated match against Paulo Costa at UFC 294.
Chimaev, originally hailing from Chechnya, arrived in Sweden at the age of 18 and had represented the Swedish flag for several years. Nevertheless, his association with Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov, a controversial figure known for alleged human rights violations and close ties to Vladimir Putin, has sparked criticism.
Fellow UFC star Jan Blachowicz has previously expressed his concerns, stating, “If Chimaev supports such people, he obviously has blood on his hands.”
Chimaev’s response to this criticism has been rooted in his respect for Kadyrov as the leader of his home country. “He is the president of my country,” Chimaev explained. “There’s a king in Sweden, right? If the king tells me to come and eat with him, I will. I will respect the king. He (Kadyrov) is the president of my country, and I respect him.”
With his change in nationality, Khamzat Chimaev’s allegiance now lies with the United Arab Emirates, and he is set to make his debut representing his new home nation in what promises to be a thrilling clash at UFC 294.