It is not long since Khamzat Chimaev lived in a tiny room inside the gym in Stockholm.

But a lot has happened since his UFC debut in mid-July.

After three crushing victories in record time, just 66 days, Chimaev has become the name on everyone's lips in the MMA world.

Many experts now predict that he will become UFC champion as early as next year.

Something that no Swede, and only a few Europeans, have succeeded in doing.

- I always knew that this would happen, but I did not think it would go so fast.

I thought I would have to compete for a year in the UFC before people started recognizing me, he says to SVT Sport.

In three UFC matches, you've only been hit twice.

MMA seems very easy for you?

- It may look easy in the cage, but people do not see what I do in the gym.

How I live, how I exercise, how to lose weight.

People see that you win in 17 seconds, but not all the hard work behind it.

No one in the entire MMA world trains harder than me, says Chimaev.

"Did not always have food on the table"

He was born in Chechnya in 1994 during a difficult period for the republic, which was then at war with Russia.

- It was tough and we did not always have food on the table.

I lived in a village and sometimes when we were going into town I had to borrow pants from my friend.

Today it looks much better in Chechnya and they have rebuilt the country, but when I was little it was not so, says the 26-year-old.

Thanks to his enormous success in the UFC, he has been rewarded with around SEK 1.5 million in performance bonuses alone.

Now he is looking for an apartment in Stockholm, something that has not previously been financially possible.

- Before, it was difficult.

I could not always eat food whenever I wanted, but Reza Madadi (training buddy and former UFC fighter, red note) helped me.

I always called him when I did not have money.

So sometimes you went around hungry because you could not afford food?

- Yes, I was ashamed to call Reza for money and thought for an hour if I would even call.

But he said "you have to call me, I'm your brother".

Hope to meet McGregor

UFC President Dana White confirmed yesterday that Chimaev will face world number three Leon Edwards in Las Vegas on December 19.

The Swede has challenged some of the biggest names in the MMA world, such as superstar Conor McGregor, but the list of names who have been willing to meet Chimaev is short.

- People just talk and talk, but when it comes to meeting in the cage, they disappear.

Do you feel ready to meet the best in the world right now?

- Yes, I have told the UFC that I want to meet the champion now, but they can not give me that opportunity so quickly that everyone would be so angry.

To meet the fix star McGregor, the sport's big cash cow, is a dream for many.

Chimaev believes that such a match could be lost in the future.

- I do not think he will take the match now, but if I win the belt he will surely want to fight.

I hope that will happen.

It's good money, a big name, many opportunities, says Chimaev.

Watch the full SVT report on Khamzat Chimaev in the player below:

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Khamzat Chimaev - UFC Swede making comet career Photo: SVT