Khamzat Chimaev’s incredible numbers on his amazing start in the UFC

Khamzat Chimaev's incredible numbers on his amazing start in the UFC

Khamzat Chimaev will compete in his fourth UFC fight on Saturday at UFC 267 (10:30 am ET on ESPN +). He is 3-0 in the Octagon, 9-0 overall in his MMA career. He wiped out all opponents, six of them in the first round. He has never seen a Round 3.

But those are not the only numbers that draw attention to the 27-year-old Swede born in Chechnya.

Chimaev burst onto the UFC scene with a vengeance in the summer of 2020, finishing with three opponents in just two months. But he hasn’t fought in over a year, his career derailed by a difficult battle with COVID-19. Now he’s healthy, and when Chimaev shows up to fight Li Jingliang this weekend in a middleweight fight on the main card in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, he will be looking to continue his storied career.

Here are some of Chimaev’s staggering numbers (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information research), beginning with his first UFC appearance:

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Chimaev landed 118 strikes in the first round of his Octagon debut on July 16, 2020, a fight in which he went on to submit John Phillips for strangulation of D’Arce in the second round. That’s a punch or kick every 2½ seconds, straight from the start. Chimaev’s punching total made him the first middleweight in the modern UFC era to land at least 100 in a first round. His 118 strikes were the second-most in the UFC of a 185-pound man in any round. If only he knew that the number to beat was 120, a mark set by Ryan Janes in the second round of a 2017 fight against Andrew Sanchez, Chimaev might have landed three more shots off the horn to get the record. That was how much his control was.

Differential plus-122 in strokes

Throughout the fight, Chimaev outscored Phillips 124-2 in total strikes and 43-1 in significant strikes. Chimaev’s plus-122 differential was the fifth-best UFC middleweight debut, behind only Phil Baroni, Ivan Salaverry, Logan Clark and Jon Fitch. No one has done better than Chimaev since 2006.

It took Chimaev just 10 days to go 2-0 in the UFC. The time span between his debut on July 16 and his first round TKO on July 26 against Rhys McKee in a welterweight fight is the shortest between wins in UFC history. It was the shortest comeback between fights, period, until just over a week ago, when Mexican strawweight Loopy Godinez competed seven days after landing a quick submission over Silvana Gomez Juárez on October 9. However, Godínez lost their fight on October 16 (by unanimous decision to Luana Carolina), so Chimaev’s record of time between victories remains.

68-0, a shutout of blows

Chimaev built up a 68-0 lead over McKee in total strikes, and wasted no time doing so. He ran through the Octagon early on, grabbed McKee in the first five seconds, carried him through the cage to his own trainers, deposited McKee on the mat, and went to work. McKee didn’t even attempt a punch, making Chimaev’s 40 significant punches the most in the modern era of the UFC against an opponent who didn’t attempt a punch.

83-1 and 192-2 after two fights

Chimaev’s significant punching advantage after UFC fights was 83-1. That is the highest number of hits landed in the modern era by a fighter who takes one or less. His 192-2 total punching advantage made Chimaev the second fighter in the modern UFC era to hit at least 100 and take two or fewer in his first two bouts, joining future heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (141- 2).

Chimaev earned his third UFC victory on September 19, 2020, knocking out Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds, with a single punch. KO is tied for third-fastest in UFC middleweight history; Mark Weir holds the record with a 10-second KO of Eugene Jackson in 2002. Terry Martin knocked out Jorge Rivera in 14 seconds in 2007. And John Phillips, the underdog in Chimaev’s debut, shares third place with a KO of 17. seconds of Alen Amedovski in 2019.

66 days since his debut at 3-0

The 66 days between Chimaev’s debut on July 16 and that landslide victory on September 19 make him the fastest 3-0 fighter in the modern era of the UFC, beating Johnny Walker (105 days). Chimaev is also the fastest to score three wins at any time in a UFC career, beating Bobby Green (84 days).

196-2 makes 2020 historic

In three fights in 2020, Chimaev landed 196 strikes and took just two hits, the second-best ratio in UFC history for a fighter with at least three fights that year. The only fighter to have a more dominant year, at least by this standard, was Royce Gracie, who landed 19 strikes and absorbed none at UFC 1. Gracie defeated three opponents (Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock and Gerard Gordeau) on December 12. November 1993, on his way to becoming the first UFC champion.

In the modern era of the UFC, no one comes close to Chimaev. The next best hit ratio for a year was 280-20 by Phil Davis in 2010.

Three times $ 50,000 is … spectacular

Chimaev is one of 12 fighters to earn bonuses after each of his first three UFC bouts. He pocketed an extra $ 50,000 each time for the night’s performance.

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