Rising UFC contender Khamzat Chimaev has set social media tongues wagging after issuing a Twitter post alongside a pair of ring girls covered by laughing emojis.
Welterweight star Chimaev was recently seen in action in a headline wrestling bout at Bulldog Fight Night 9 in Sweden with fellow UFC fighter Jack Hermansson.
The Chechen-born sensation was taken the distance by the Swede before being declared a comfortable winner on points.
Part of the entertainment for the event included Chimaev posing alongside a pair of ring girl beauties – one of whom, Denisa Gudelj, posted the image on her Instagram account.
Taking to Twitter to issue a cryptic message of his own on Wednesday, a winking and hooded Chimaev was seen inside the cage flanked by models at the event in Gothenburg, adding the caption “no ring girls” followed by three laughing emojis.
Laughing emojis were also placed over the ring girls in the image.
No ring girls 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/jjooy00BW2
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) November 24, 2021
There was no further comment, but thoughts from some fans immediately strayed to the remarks earlier this year by Dagestani former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Discussing the role of ring girls in the context of his own Eagle FC MMA promotion, devout Muslim Khabib said that they were essentially “unnecessary”.
That prompted a backlash from a number of UFC Octagon girls such as Brittney Palmer as well as mockery from long-time Khabib foe Conor McGregor.
Khabib, however, later said that he was unconcerned.
“I know, all the time, I say a lot of strange things too, but I don’t care. This is my opinion: I’m born with this, I grew up with this and I have [delivered in] straight [style] my opinion,” said the undefeated Russian star.
“Sometimes, when I say something, people don’t agree with this but I don’t care because I know I am right in my mind.
“This is my promotion and I make decisions,” Khabib added. “I’m going to do whatever I want, not [UFC boss Dana White] or other people.
“Dana can do whatever he wants. Sometimes he does things that I don’t understand, too, but I never judge him – this is his decision because his name is Dana White, my name is Khabib. If I have an opinion, I just say it.”
Chimaev, meanwhile, is currently awaiting his next UFC assignment after obliterating all four men he has faced in the Octagon thus far.
The latest of those was China’s Li Jingliang, who was submitted by ‘Borz’ in the first round of their 170lbs contest at UFC 267 at the end of October.
That moved the 10-0 Chimaev up to 10th in the welterweight rankings, with calls for him to face a significant step up in competition in his next bout as the Sweden-based sensation plots a potential title shot.