Khamzat Chimaev will no longer be representing Sweden. He moved there at the age of 18 and established himself as one of the best wrestlers in the country before switching to MMA.

Chimaev might have been born in Chechnya, which wasn’t part of Russia at the time, but he had decided to start representing the UAE. The timing is convenient because he will be fighting there next month.

It has been reported that Chimaev has been granted citizenship in the UAE, although the UFC generally lets fighters choose which country they want to represent anyway. He is sure to get vociferous support from the crowd in Abu Dhabi when he fights Paulo Costa on October 21st.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Khamzat Chimaev (@khamzat_chimaev)

Lone wolf

UFC 294 is set for the Etihad Arena and Chimaev will probably get the biggest cheer of the night. But the news is unlikely to go down so well in Sweden where he was a member of the Allstars Gym, alongside fellow UFC star Alexander Gustafsson.

Chimaev appears to have addressed the decision to switch nationality in a recent Instagram post writing that,

“I’ve always been a lone wolf and I always will be.

no one believed in me, I didn’t need that!

I believe in myself and Allah helps me!

if Allah is with me nothing will stop me InShaAllah!”

It is worth noting that numerous fighters choose to represent countries which they have roots in. For instance Nasrat Haqparast was born in Germany but the UFC always lists him as being from Afghanistan.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Khamzat Chimaev (@khamzat_chimaev)

Switching nationality

Former UFC heavyweight contender Jeff Monson famously switched nationality from American to Russian, although the latter country didn’t grant him citizenship until after his competitive career was over. Fighters with dual nationality face a dilemma when deciding whether to represent the country they were born in or the country they live in.

Both Javid Basharat and Farid Basharat chose to do the latter despite having having British citizenship. The brothers were born in Afghanistan and always fight under that flag.

It is more unusual for a fighter to be adopted by a country which they have no roots in but has happened frequently in other sports. Footballer Diego Costa famously decided to represent Spain at the World Cup in Brazil despite having been born and raised in Brazil.

Chimaev’s decision to represent the UAE is sure to raise some eyebrows in Sweden. But the 29 year old is sure to get some passionate support from the crowd at Etihad Arena on