Li Jingliang knows he has a big opportunity in front of him as he will fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267.
Chimaev was the hot prospect in 2020 as he fought twice in 10 days on Fight Island with two stoppage wins. He followed it up with a one-punch KO over Gerald Meerschaert in September and was then set to drop down to welterweight again and fight Leon Edwards. However, he had tested positive for COVID-19 and has been dealing with the ramifications from that, but he is set to make his return at UFC 267 opposite Jingliang who is eager for the matchup.
“I think for me, it’s OK because he paid his effort,” Jingliang told MMA Junkie through an interpreter on Chimaev’s hype. “He gained his hype because he paid his effort. Now everyone loves the internet, so it’s nothing much. He paid his effort, and I respect that. I’m used to this, being an underdog, so believe in your team, believe in your family, believe in your friends, and have faith in yourself. At the end, only the fist does the talking. Other people’s opinions don’t matter.”
Entering the fight, to no surprise, Chimaev is a massive favorite as he is hovering around a -455 favorite. He has all the hype behind him but Li Jingliang knows it’s MMA and anything can happen. He also is well-rounded and believes he not only has the skillset to win but can finish Chimaev to hand him his first professional loss.
“This is MMA,” Jingliang said. “It’s not one thing vs. another thing. People who’ve seen me striking just haven’t seen me doing grappling before, and I cannot wait to show you. I don’t think the fight will go to a decision. I believe we leave with a win. I have everything.”
JIngliang is currently the 11th-ranked welterweight and coming off a KO win over Santiago Ponzinibbio back in January.