Shavkat Rakhmonov interested in Khamzat Chimaev fight, but ‘it’s not a big deal’ if it doesn’t happen
Shavkat Rakhmonov hopes he crosses paths with Khamzat Chimaev, but isn’t focused on it.
Like Chimaev, Rakhmonov (16-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is a highly touted unbeaten fighter who has torn through the welterweight ranks.
After Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) teased a move back up to middleweight, Rakhmonov may not get to fight him any time soon, but he’s not worried about it.
“If we are meant to fight, we’re going to fight,” Rakhmonov told Sportskeeda through an interpreter. “If not, it’s not a big deal. I have my own sports interest to compete with him, but (if) it’s not going to happen, it’s not a big deal.”
Rakhmonov will look to break into title contention when he meets Geoff Neal at UFC 285 on March 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The 28-year-old has stopped every opponent he’s faced. Most recently, he submitted Neil Magny at UFC on ESPN 38 in June 2022.
Neal (15-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) never has been finished and if Rakhmonov can take out the durable fighter, he expects to edge closer toward the belt.
“Geoff Neal is a good fighter, a good striker,” Rakhmonov said. “I just need to win and perform well.
“I’m not a big talker. It’s going to depend on Geoff’s approach, his performance, his game plan. I have to go in there, feel him out and then act accordingly.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.
UFC on ESPN 38 post-event facts: Shavkat Rakhmonov's finishing skills gaining traction