Kevin Holland just asked Khamzat Chimaev to keep the same energy.
Before his fight against Daniel Rodriguez at UFC 279, Holland made it clear that he was arrogant to headline the event, but that doesn’t mean he’s whitewashing what he saw.
Both were in Las Vegas for UFC 279, and Holland had a hard time ignoring what he said about Chimaev’s performance in front of the camera compared to what he saw behind the scenes.
“I think he likes the fmedia,” Holland said at UFC 279 Media Day. “I feel like he only does this extra street jerk when the media is there.
“Other than that, he doesn’t. When you’re not around, he wants to do fist bumps, he wants to be your best friend. When you’re around, all of a sudden he’s like, ‘Rawr, I’m going to rip your fucking head off.
“You’re not bullshitting, dog. Let’s be real. You want a salary, just like everyone else here.”
Chimaev will face Nate Diaz in the non-championship main event at UFC 279. The 28-year-old Chechen-born fighter made a splash early in his UFC career, with a 5-0 start to MMA Fighting’s No. 3 welterweight ranking and the brink of a title fight.
Chimaev and Holland have had multiple incidents during this period, including a hotel run-in in late 2020, followed by Holland’s criticism of Chimaev’s handling of his dealings with COVID-19 s contact. Chimaev even responded to Holland’s latest comment on Wednesday, asking on Instagram if Holland forgot “the last slap I gave you at the hotel” and asking Holland if he wanted another one.
For now, though, both have their own missions at UFC 279. “The Blazers” admit that Chimaev will likely beat Diaz, but he’s also not surprised that Chimaev believes too much in his own hype.
“Nothing is 100 percent locked in,” Holland told MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin. “If someone shows up to fight and another shows up thinking he’s got the fight in his bag, it’s easy to go the other way. It’s just part of the fighting game.
” Diaz, people are writing him off, but he’s rocking the champ now. He won the championship on wobbly legs. Round five, the last, he was on the corner, in a really tough fight, the guy was a hell of a striker. Chimaev is a very, very dominant wrestler. Diaz is a very good fighter. His back grip is really good and I’m pretty sure he can do damage on top. So I would never completely obliterate Diaz.
“On paper, 100 percent Chimayev should win this fight,” Holland continued. “But as fighters, we tend to be a little bit cocky and we think we have everything. That’s probably the only problem.”