In this video, Patrick Auger and Drake Riggs look at how Khamzat Chimaev has gained immense popularity in such a short time with the UFC. Chimaev has taken as many fights as possible in the UFC and dominated his opponents in the process.
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Ben Askren also spoke of this strategy recently, stating, “There’s something about being in the cage over and over and over again, people getting used to you and familiar with you that is hugely valuable to you as a fighter and your popularity and in turn, how much money you’re going to make in the company.”
Is it as simple as taking as many fights as possible or is there more to it than that?
Riggs believes it’s a good idea to stay active. Simply, it helps to get your name out there more often, but whether or not that’s a good thing depends on the performances of the fighter.
Riggs points out the example of Hannah Cifers, who has competed four times in 2020 but is yet to experience victory. It’s not a foolproof strategy to just take as many fights as possible, you have to back it up.
On the other hand, we have Khamzat Chiamev, who Riggs describes as a train just running through people in the most dominant fashion we’ve seen. He comments that it’s paying out dividends for Khamzat Chimaev and his performances have been so ridiculous that it doesn’t even matter who he’s fighting.
Riggs also speaks to the success of Angela Hill, who has gained popularity this year as she’s taken four fights this year and won two of them.
Simply, activity is just one part of the recipe.
Auger backs up Riggs’ belief by stating that if you’re going out there knocking people out and taking as many fights as possible, you’re going to become popular. Look at Chimaev’s rise to the top — he’s gone from fighting unranked opponents to fighting the #3 guy in Leon Edwards. The UFC is happy to push Chimaev and they’ve done this before with Cody Garbrandt, for example.
But Auger points out that waiting can also pay off in the UFC. Look at how Stipe Miocic waited for his second shot at Daniel Cormier. But in general, the UFC is more willing to give you ranked opponents next time if you fight an unranked fighter or take a short-notice fight.
What do you think? Should more fighters be attempting to replicate Khamzat Chimaev’s desire to fight as much as possible in the UFC?
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.