Khamzat Chimaev has been preparing for his next UFC test in the Swedish wilderness
Chechen-born Swede Khamzat Chimaev is poised for an assault on the UFC welterweight championship in 2022 and, ahead of what is expected to be a serious uptick in competition this year, the undefeated superstar has shown off exactly what he is doing to ready himself to take on the top fighters at 170lbs.
Chimaev is a perfect 4-0 since debuting with the UFC on 'Fight Island' in the summer of 2020 and enhanced his already glowing reputation even further with a shutdown win against tough Chinese striker Li Jingliang in October 2021 in his most recent Octagon assignment - a submission victory which broke him into the top 15 welterweight rankings for the first time.
The 27-year-old, though, remains one of the most avoided fighters in the division - with UFC boss Dana White even saying that he understands why the likes of Nate Diaz have scoffed at the idea of being the next man up for the sensation who has not been taken beyond the fourth minute of a bout since making his UFC bow.
"What do you think?" White told TMZ last month when asked if Diaz's refusal to fight Chimaev was because he is a 'rookie', as Diaz claimed, or if the Stockton fight veteran avoided the content for reasons more likened to self-preservation.
"Listen, man. Khamzat is a straight murderer. He's a killer, he's an absolute savage and I don't blame anybody for not wanting to fight Khamzat Chimaev," White added of the fighter who won twice in ten days after joining the promotion and added another knockout to his resume less than two months later.
"Everybody in this company is here because they belong here. There are no real rookies per se here.
"There are guys with more experience and some guys with less experience. Khamzat Chimaev is one of those guys that's willing to fight anybody in multiple weight classes, on short notice. He's doing wrestling matches.
"If it's a fight, he's in, and he wants to fight you. And that's the reality. People can spin Khamzat however they want, and I don't blame them."
And with those statements in mind, it is of little surprise that Chimaev currently doesn't have an opponent lined up.
Leon Edwards was linked - and even signed - to a fight that fell through due to various Covid mishaps.
Neil Magny is another who has talked up a potential showdown and exchanged Twitter taunts with Chimaev, although reports last week suggested that the American is set to face Max Griffin at UFC Columbus on March 26 2022.
The latest name mooted is that of former title challenger Gilbert Burns. Again, though, there is nothing concrete to speak of for the "rookie's" next fight.
But that fight will eventually come, and it will be another another step towards the crown currently worn by the outstanding American wrestler Kamaru Usman.
And judging by the footage you can see above, Chimaev and training parter Reza Madadi are leaving no stone unturned - quite literally - in their pursuit of excellence.
"It's very cold," UFC vet Madadi says in the brief clip which shows the pair running and shadowboxing in the Swedish wilds on Christmas Day 2021. "It's Russian cold," he adds.
"Brother, nothing can stop us. It's Christmas time. We have one goal. You need to work hard for it."
The full video, which can be seen on Chimaev's YouTube channel launched by the fighter last week, shows the pair driving into the woods to meet members of his team from the Allstars Training Center where he is based in Sweden, with Chimaev describing Madadi as his coach.
After Chimaev says the temperature is minus ten degrees, Madadi explains that the group are about to run three kilometers five times, stopping at a series of 'stations' to perform exercises along the way.
'Borz', who is currently training with Russian fighter Petr Yan in Thailand, ends the video by throwing snowballs at Professional Fighters League welterweight Sadibou Sy, who was part of the group, and Madadi while they are sitting in cars, as well as advising his fans to "smash somebody".
The footage appears reminiscent of Rocky Balboa's training montage in the film 'Rocky V' - except, and to borrow that analogy a little further, this time it is Ivan Drago out pushing himself to his limits in freezing conditions.
How would Rocky have fared in that matchup if their training roles were reversed?
We might just get a glimpse the next time Khamzat sets foot in the UFC Octagon.