Khamzat Chimaev’s Coach Admits To Frustration Over Star’s Brawling Instincts

Khamzat Chimaev may have won his last fight against Gilbert Burns, but it proved to be a tough night at the office for the heavily hyped rising star and his coach Andreas Michael has admitted to being frustrated with ‘Borz’ willingness to brawl in such a high-stakes moment in his career.

“I got very upset and I just told him, ‘Listen. We’ve been working for this for, like, 10 weeks,” Michael said on ‘The MMA Hour’ show. “Stop jeopardizing this because you want to show everyone you’re the man. Understand? You are the man, but keep it simple. Keep your jab going. Keep it to what we’ve been working on’. And at the end of the day we say, nobody’s going to love — well, I’m not saying nobody — but people love a winner. So just win the f****** fight.

“I don’t remember Jon Jones’ fights in his last part of his career. They haven’t been spectacular, but nobody remembers that. You look at Sherdog and you see win win win win win win win. At the end of the day, that’s what people remember, sad to say. They love a winner and they forget about a loser. I’m not saying I’m pushing him to do boring fights, what I’m saying is to do more intelligent fights and he has the ability.”

Michael went on to reveal that Chimaev’s performance wasn’t anything like the game-plan he had stepped into the Octagon with, but feels the experience of things not going all his own way will help make him respect the strategic aspect of competing at the highest level in the future.

The plan was to just box him,” Michael said. “Keep the jab going because that’s the way to handle that situation. He did absolutely everything we didn’t work on and he just wanted to show the people, ‘Listen, I’m here, I’m gonna walk through this guy.’ But there’s a reason these guys are there. The No. 2, No. 1, champions, they’re there because they’re f****** tough. They’re some tough dudes, respect to them. So if you understand that and that comes with experience, if you understand that then you have the patience to handle that situation and that will make you maybe finish him in one or two rounds, but you need that patience and that patience comes with experience. Remember, Khamzat has nearly never gone past the first round.

“It’s like [Mike] Tyson the first time he went 12 rounds, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, he got exposed.’ … What did they say about Khabib [Nurmagomedov], for example, when he fought against Tibau? These are great, great fighters, but it’s how you handle adversity that shows that you’re a great fighter. And not every performance can be spectacular.”

Michael also stated that Chimaev’s brawling instincts were evident from the first day he set foot in their gym four years ago.

“He came and he just started brawling with people,” Michael recalls. “He just walked in the gym and goes, ‘Hey, I want to be as good as Alex. I want to be as good as all these guys. I’m gonna crush everyone.’

“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, another one of these nutcases that just comes in and is tough for, like, five seconds and that’s about it. As soon as he gets a taste of his own medicine he’s gonna piss off.’

“But that was not the case. I was like, ‘Oh, we have something here.’ Zero technique, just brawling and shooting like crazy to take guys down because he didn’t have any striking. He didn’t have any grappling. He just came in like a raw wrestler and I saw a lot of potential, the team saw a lot of potential in him. We started working and working and working. In four years, he’s ranked No. 2 in the world now because his first MMA professional fight was 2018. It took us four years to get into the No. 2 spot.”

Despite his fast rise to prominence and unbeaten record, Michael admits that the 27-year-old ‘Borz’ is still “a work in progress” at this stage and continues to evolve with every fight he takes.

“Khamzat is very talented in striking, but of course he needs a lot of experience. Experience is what he was lacking that evening and that’s what he got. A lot of experience, the hard way.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.