Rising UFC star Khamzat Chimaev has been officially included in the UFC’s official welterweight rankings, despite not defeating anyone from the division’s top 15.
Chimaev has made three appearances for the UFC so far. He kicked off his octagon career with a second-round submission of Welsh middleweight John Phillips on “UFC Fight Island”.
He then returned to the octagon in Abu Dhabi 10 days later and TKO’d Northern Irish welterweight debutant Rhys McKee in the first round. He then knocked out middleweight grappler Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds in Las Vegas in September.
His three performances have impressed the UFC brass so much that they have decided to throw him in with one of the top welterweight contenders in the world, England’s Leon Edwards, on Dec. 19. Now the official UFC rankings have installed Chimaev in the welterweight top 15.
The rankings, which are often the source of controversy due to the panel of largely unknown media members from little-known outlets, have seen fit to include Chimaev in the top 15 of the welterweight division, despite the Swedish prospect having registered just one win over welterweight opposition – Northern Ireland’s McKee – who was making his octagon debut at the time.
Usually, fighters looking to break into the rankings would have to claim a notable victory over someone of valid stature within the UFC, such as an already-ranked fighter. But that appears not to have been a consideration for Chimaev, who has been installed at No. 15 in the rankings after just one UFC fight at 170 pounds.
Regardless of the UFC rankings panel’s decision, the buzz surrounding Chimaev’s blistering arrival in the UFC is real, and his skills will face the ultimate test against Edwards, who is riding an eight-fight win streak, with his last defeat coming against the current welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman.