A fight-week verbal altercation between middleweights Khamzat Chimaev and Gerald Meerschaert got a little spicer at the UFC Vegas 11 press conference, with Meerschaert betting a martial arts rank after taking more verbal jabs from Chimaev.
“If you choke me out, I’ll find a black belt and give it to you – how about that?” Meerschart said.
The UFC middleweight veteran brushed off a threat from Chimaev in the hallway of the host hotel earlier this week, but was forced to address him directly during the UFC Vegas 11 media day on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Chimaev was on the offense from the outset, teasing Meerschaert about his previous losses and black belt status.
“You lose you your fights,” Chimaev interjected during Meerschaert’s first question. “You are like friend of Conor. What is his name? Artem Lobov. How many times you lose your fights?”
“Oh, I’ve lost quite a few fights,” Meerschaert said. “I’m 31-13.”
“You think you’re a black belt?” Chimaev said. “Jack Hermansson, he doesn’t have a black belt. Why did he choke you out?”
“Some times you lose when you fight tough guys, man,” Meerschaert said.
“I have blue belt,” Chimaev said. “I’m going to choke you out. … You’re about to give your black belt to me.”
Chimaev, who burst onto the scene earlier this year with back-to-back wins in 10 days on Fight Island, said his knowledge of Meerschaert was limited to a previous loss to Ian Heinisch, even though he brought up another setback against Hermansson.
Quite clearly, the up-and-comer was having fun with his first starring role in a UFC press conference and went after his opponent at every turn.
“Somebody, how like a white belt choke you out? How are you going to be a black belt? For me, it’s not possible, because I did hard work to get the blue belt for three years,” Chimaev said. “How did he get that. Imagine how many years I have to take to get that.”
Chimaev repeated the verbal threat he initiated with Meerschaert at the host hotel, initiating another back-and-forth that co-headliner Donald Cerrone stepped in to cut the tension.
Chimaev got a smile and laugh out of Cerrone, whom he’s also said he could smash while also expressing respect for the veteran. Meerschaert is not the opponent he wanted to fight, he said, but he would do his work and move on to the next challenge. He’s already penciled in to face welterweight Demian Maia in his next bout.
Meerschaert is tied at five with Antonio Carlos Junior and Maia for the most submissions in the middleweight division. Chimaev, though, is not impressed.
“Train harder, not talk,” he said. “‘I am jiu-jitsu, I am better.’ What the f*ck.”
“I am tied for the most submissions in the middleweight division,” Meerschaert replied. “So yeah, I think I deserve that black belt.”
About that strap on the line, Meerschaert can have it.
“If I choke you out, you are finished with this sport,” Chimaev said.
And Meerschaert promises to humble the young upstart.
“If I double-leg you, do I get, like, a wrestling trophy or something?” he quipped.