Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland have traded barbs numerous times now. This includes a scuffle earlier in 2021, around the time Holland questioned the reality of Chimaev’s long and tough battle with COVID-19.
After being out for over a year, Chimaev is finally set to return to the cage at UFC 267 this week against China’s Li Jingliang. The Chechen also decided to reveal his side of that hotel lobby incident.
“Holland. He commented something under (Instagram) post about me. He wrote something about me, ‘where’s your mask?’ when I was helping this one guy, but I didn’t know I was being recorded,” Chimaev said. “He wrote something like ‘it’s all good but where’s your mask? You can infect him.’ Something like that.
“I came up to him in the hotel and asked, ‘What did you mean by that?’ He answered, ‘I don’t really remember but what about it?’ Or something like that,” Chimaev described. “I grabbed his neck and pushed him away.
“Then, when people were holding me, he started ‘blah blah blah.’ Typical American thing. Just talking without doing anything.”
For what it’s worth, this is how Holland described the incident back in March:
“I had seen him like literally two days before he said he felt bad, and we were about to low-key fight inside the lobby all over again. You know what I mean? I mean, he didn’t feel that bad that hour. So, it is what it is.
“It wasn’t like almost fight, it was just like literally, I seen him, he seen me and he walked in and I was like, ‘Oh look my best friend’s here.’ Granted there’s a language barrier, so he probably didn’t understand like I was being sarcastic, and he was like, ‘Oh you want to be friends now?’ I started laughing, I was like, ‘F—k no, never. Why would I want to be friends with you?’
“Then somebody behind me was like, ‘Kevin there’s a lot of them, and it’s just one of you,’ and I was like, ‘I’m not worried about it. I drove out here. I got dildos in the car. I’m ready to f—k that boy.’ So it’s never really worried about these guys. I hope he gets better. I’d love to fight him one day.”
Holland has called out Chimaev numerous times in the past, also questioning the hype behind him at the time. Chimaev won three bouts in 2020 and got a heavy marketing push from Dana White and the UFC for his desire to keep fighting and being active. Holland, on the other hand, actually tied a UFC record by going 5-0 in the same year against better opposition.
He also had three more bouts in 2021. Unfortunately, Holland ran into top contenders Marvin Vettori and Derek Brunson, and then had a no-contest earlier in October.