Chimaev’s martial arts journey may be exploding onto the big stage inside the octagon, but the Chechen-born Swedish fighter is still learning and growing as a martial artist, and he explained that while he already has a strong grappling base due to his judo and no-gi grappling experience, he’s reverted back to traditional gi-based BJJ to further enhance his skills.
That training has taken place at his main training base at Allstars in Stockholm, where he is put through his paces by a BJJ champions Alan Finfou and Bruno Matias.
He’s surrounded by a host of grappling champions on the mats, including world champions Elina Moestam and Martina Gramenius, as well as European champion Max Lindblad. Plus, of course, there’s a host of elite-level MMA fighters who train out of the gym, including Alexander Gustafsson and Ilir Latifi.
And while his professional target is to capture a UFC championship belt one day, Chimaev seems equally determined to work his way through the BJJ belt system.
“When I was 7-8 years old I did judo, throws and things like that. I still have it in me from those times but I want to learn more about the ground game,” he explained.
“I train a lot of no-gi but now I’m starting with the gi again. I want my blue belt!”
The blue belt is the first belt awarded to white belt students once they have shown competence in the first level of grappling skills in the syllabus, and Chimaev was presented with his blue belt by Finfou in front of his fellow students as they applauded him for his achievement.
After being given the floor to make a speech to the room, a shy Chimaev said, “I love my coach. I fought so hard for this blue belt. I’m so nervous! I’m not this nervous when I fight.
“Thank you to everyone, it’s so much fun to train with everybody. Now I will try to get more submissions with this!”