In a recent interview with Russian freelance reporter Adam Zubayraev, Chimaev said he traveled to Ireland around the time of his professional debut in 2018 to find McGregor and “beat him up” for comments made about Nurmagomedov and Chechens.
What Exactly Happened
“At that time, I was fighting as an amateur or a pro record of 1-0 when that happened,” Chimaev said in Russian, as translated by Zubayraev. “It is that time when he insulted Khabib, and he also was talking about Zubaira (Tukhugov).
At that time, nobody knew who I was. He was also talking about another guy who’s also Chechen. I don’t remember his name, but he told us he knocked him out in a sparring session.
My mind was blowing up at the moment, but I’m living here very close to him. I was thinking that I would catch him in the streets or at the gym and beat him up. This is what he deserved.”
Arriving at Ireland
According to Chimaev, he traveled to Ireland but was stopped at the airport for unknown reasons. After he was allowed to continue on his way, Chimaev said he was stopped again.
This time, Chimaev said, he was taken, jailed and shipped back home without an understood explanation – despite having the proper travel papers.
“Yes, I landed in Ireland and waited in an airport,” Chimaev said. “First, they stopped me a while, and then slightly they told me to go. Then I was going out.
When I was going out of the airport, they stopped me again. That time, there were guys literally in uniform. … Yes, there were (special forces), and they told me, ‘You cannot go anywhere.’ But I didn’t get what they meant.
At that time, my English was very bad. Even right now, it’s not that good. … They drove me to the police station and kept me for eight hours.
“No, there wasn’t any interrogation at all. I was just kept in a cell. I waited for maybe eight or nine hours. I was doing push-ups and squats. They didn’t even bring me food. Then after a while, they told me, ‘You have to go back to Sweden.’ They continued, ‘We’ll bring you back to the airport where the plane is waiting for you.’ They brought me back to the airport and sent me back home.”
What He had Planned for McGregor
Chimaev admits he wanted to inflict physical harm on McGregor by pretending he was going there to help him prepare for UFC 229.
“Honestly speaking, I wanted to beat him up,” Chimaev said. “Many people thought I was coming there to help him to prepare for Khabib. … Not only for Khabib.
I was coming there to protect our pride and honor. I was going there for all of us. If that would not have happened, I would have maybe thrown, I don’t know, some object. … I think I was able to stand for myself.”
Chimaev does not have his next fight booked. However, UFC president Dana White said Chimaev will be booked for a fight in August.