It’s one of the unwritten rules of MMA gyms: don’t spar too hard. Especially against guys with fights coming up. If you can’t pull your punches during sparring sessions, chances are you’re going to have a harder time finding a partner to help you prepare for fights.
“Have you sparred him? He gets a little bit [crazy],” Strickland stated in released footage of him training with Chimaev and fellow middleweight Darren Till. Till and Chimaev have become something of a package deal, with the MMA world deeming them the “Smesh bros.” Of those three, Khamzat and Strickland are the only ones with fights lined up. Strickland fights Jared Cannonier in October, while Chimaev faces his biggest test to date against Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC 279.
“Don’t hurt people!” implored Strickland. Later, while Strickland is lightly sparring with Darren Till, another fighter can be heard shouting “who shoots during warmups?!” another no-no inside MMA gyms. Strickland laughs and responds, “Chimaev!”
UFC 279 goes down next month, September 10th from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Borz” will try to keep his hype train going when he squares off against the pride of Stockton, UFC icon Nate Diaz. Chimaev sparring this hard means he understands the threat that Nate Diaz poses to his hype train; Diaz is one of the biggest stars in the UFC and a loss against him would devastate his chances at a welterweight title shot.