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Robert Whittaker ‘a real fight’ for Khamzat Chimaev

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Joe Rogan thinks Robert Whittaker will present a serious test for Khamzat Chimaev.

Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) and former middleweight champion Whittaker (25-7 MMA, 16-5 UFC) will square off in a five-round headliner June 22 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The main card will air on ABC.

Whittaker is coming off an impressive win over Paulo Costa at UFC 298. Meanwhile, Chimaev hasn’t competed since outlasting former welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, who stepped in on 10 days’ notice to face “Borz” in a 185-pound bout at UFC 294.

“Whittaker vs. Khamzat Chimaev in Saudi Arabia, that one is going to be f*cking wild. That’s a wild one,” Rogan said on a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” with Joey Diaz. “That is a wild fight. … Whittaker vs. Khamzat is legit. That’s a real fight. That’s a real fight for Khamzat because Whittaker is a big dude. He’s a big, solid, beefy 185, former champion. Both guys started at 170, but it was too hard to make the 170. That’s a real 185er.”

As accomplished as Usman is, Rogan doesn’t put too much stock in Chimaev’s win over him.

“They gave him Kamaru Usman and Kamaru didn’t have a chance to prepare for that,” Rogan said. “He had 10 days. That’s not enough time. I don’t know what kind of shape he was in. He’s always in shape, but famously, Kamaru has bad knees – like real bad knees. So I don’t know how hard he was training or whether or not he prepares. Maybe he only sacrifices his knees during training and then when he’s not training for a fight, he takes it easy, so he doesn’t stay in the same kind of shape. I know he was winning in the third round.

“If that was a five-round fight, who knows how the f*ck that fight would have went. Obviously, Kamaru is world-championship caliber, the best welterweight of all time by most people’s accounts. It’s not enough time. It’s not enough time to get a guy to prepare for Khamzat. At least we got a chance to see what Khamzat looks like against a world-class, world championship-caliber fighter. This is a big one. This is Robert Whittaker with plenty of time to prepare – a guy who is just as legit as they get (and) just beat Paulo Costa. That’s a good fight. I like that.”

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