UFC star Khamzat Chimaev has some good reason to believe that he is drawing a top opponent for UFC 294. It will be the organization’s annual pay-per-view card in Abu Dhabi on October 21 at the Etihad Arena.
“Borz,” who currently holds an undefeated record 12-0 says his next opponent is former champion Kamaru Usman.
Khamzat Chimaev ‘90 percent’ sure he faces Usman
The 29-year-old Sweden-based fighter recently spoke to local outlet Expressen, including the potential bout with “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
“We train as usual here in Stockholm,” Chimaev said. “We were in Dubai for training camp, but came back now. Then, a month before the match, we will go to Abu Dhabi.
“But otherwise we train as usual here in Stockholm. We are ready for the match. It could be Usman, 90 percent.
Khamzat Chimaev says weight could be an issue, as he’s known to jump between welterweight and middleweight. But he caused a shake-up during his most recent booking at UFC 276 last September. Chimaev missed weight by 7.5 pounds, leading him to a 180-pound catchweight against Kevin Holland.
UFC president Dana White already shut down the idea of a catchweight, but Chimaev says Usman is the only fight that makes sense for him.
“He’s talking about two kilos, he doesn’t want to gain two kilos (180 lbs). Dana White talks about 82 kilos.
“We’ll see. There was no other match. It’s just him, says Chimaev.”
Dana White calls Chimaev vs Usman rumors ‘bullsh*t’
Obviously UFC boss Dana White isn’t always consistent but he has been saying for a while that Chimaev vs Usman is NOT happening at UFC 294. He talked to TSN earlier this month and here’s what he had to say:
Khamzat Chimaev’s next fight rumored to be at middleweight
There’s also a chance for Chimaev’s next fight to be at 185 pounds, and against a top contender. That’s according to number 11-ranked Bredan Allen, who suggested that Khamzat Chimaev could be facing Jared Cannonier.
“First off, sorry to (my manager) Ali (Abdelaziz). He told me not to call anyone out that has a fight, or Cannonier because he potentially has a fight from what we understand. But I already memorized all that stuff, so I was like shit I gotta go with it. I’m sorry, I’ll just have to take the heat later. It’s better to ask for forgiveness,” he said at the post-fight scrum, while also joking he’d ‘plead the fifth.’
Cannonier, a former title challenger, is on a two-fight win streak. After beating Sean Strickland in December, he put another impressive performance against Marvin Vettori last week at UFC Vegas 75, where he set a middleweight record for most landed significant strikes with 241.
Khamzat Chimaev’s UFC run
Khamzat Chimaev made a strong first impression in his UFC debut in 2020 and even broke the record of the quickest turnaround between wins in the UFC’s modern era when he fought within ten days apart and won both via stoppage.
He fought a total of three times in 2020, capping off the year with a middleweight fight against veteran Gerald Meerschaert, whom he knocked out inside 17 seconds. He only fought once in 2021 after a grueling battle with COVID-19 against Li Jingliang. Chimaev won via first-round submission.
What many deemed to be Khamzat Chimaev’s toughest fight was against former title contender Gilbert Burns. The went through a hard-fought five-rounder and earned $50K each for Fight of the Night. But ultimately, Chimaev was awarded the decision.
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