Kevin Holland respects Khamzat Chimaev as a fighter, but he has no interest in working with him.
Holland faced Chimaev in a last-minute shakeup at UFC 279, after the two had a backstage altercation before the intended pre-fight press conference, and things did not go well for “Trailblazer.” Chimaev ragdolled Holland, scoring an immediate takedown and submitting him with a D’Arce choke at 2:13 of the first round. After the fight, Chimaev gave his respect to Holland as a “good guy, a tough guy” and even offered to train with him to teach him some things. Holland isn’t interested.
“It’s more likely for the universe to change and we all look like cartoon characters,” Holland told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour when asked about the offer. “I’m not training with that guy. I don’t know what the f*** he was thinking. I guess because I asked him how many times a week they work wrestling, but hey, I’m just trying to steal the recipe for me and my guys and he shot a fast shot. So it is what it is.”
Holland says his disinterest in training with Chimaev isn’t sour grapes, just that it’s not something he wants to do at this time. Holland was complimentary of Chimaev, calling him “one hell of an athlete” and calling their fight “fun, for as long as it lasted,” but Holland said he plans on keeping his team small, and sticking with what has gotten him here in the first place.
“It’s me and my team against the world,” Holland said. “I’m not training with no other squads. I may stop in and say what’s up to some people that I think are really cool — shout out to those boys out there at RVCA, except Luke Rockhold. I think there’s a lot of cool people out there but my squad is my squad, my team is my team, but ride together, die together, bad boys for life. That’s how we’re going to do it…
“[So] no thanks whatsoever. There’s no thank you involved. It’s two middle-fingers.”
But while Holland may not be interested in striking up a friendship with Chimaev, there is one new person hanging around with him, UFC lightweight contender Terrance McKinney. McKinney recently signed with KO Reps, the management company that represents Holland, and the two have seemingly become fast friends, something Holland welcomes.
“Terrance reached out to a few of my people after the Brunson or Vettori losses and was like, ‘I think I can help Kev out,’” Holland said “I think my bro did tell me but I was so pissed off I was like, ‘I don’t want to hear that s***.’ Now here we are, got to work a little bit with Terrance and it’s funny because we’re both similar athletes, so he was showing me a few little things he likes to do and that was fun to learn. It’s cool to have an extra person around, another UFC caliber guy — fastest knockout in lightweight history. Dude’s a monster and fun to play with in the gym, so I’m very excited.”
Holland doesn’t have much time to mess around with new friends though as he’s already back to business. He faces Stephen Thompson in the main event of UFC Orlando on Dec. 3 at Amway Center.