Dana White confirms Kamaru Usman – Khamzat Chimaev fight winner at UFC 294 will face Sean Strickland for belt

Kamaru Usman vs. Khamzat Chimaev winner set to fight Sean Strickland for title after UFC 294

UFC CEO, Dana White has confirmed the victor of next weekend’s middleweight co-headliner between former welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, and the undefeated, Khamzat Chimaev, will go on to fight incumbent middleweight titleholder, Sean Strickland for the division’s undisputed crown.

Earlier tonight, promotional boss, White confirmed that a scheduled middleweight fight between Chimaev and one-time title challenger, Paulo Costa had fallen to the wayside, after the Brazilian required a third surgical procedure to address a bursitis infection in his elbow.

And as a result, the organization have since booked a middleweight bout – subsequently an official title eliminator between Chimaev and former pound-for-pound number one and prior welterweight kingpin, Usman for UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, UAE next weekend. 

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Kamaru Usman and Khamzat Chimaev will fight in a title eliminator at UFC 294

Speaking with Yahoo! Sports reporter, Kevin Iole, the above-mentioned UFC leader, White confirmed how the victor between Usman and Chimaev will fight incumbent middleweight champion, Strickland for the division’s belt. 

“Who knows how they’ll (Kamaru Usman or Khamzat Chimaev) approach it, but you have to think that with the (Paulo) Costa fight, Khamzat probably had to be thinking about going out and taking him down,” Dana White explained. “But with Usman and his wrestling, it could actually turn into more of a stand-up war.”

“This is what fighting should be,” White said. “I don’t know if you saw what Khabib (Nurmagomedov) said. He said, ‘Brother, we are UFC champions, you fight King Kong if he makes weight.’ That’s what makes fighting so fun. They’re all taking these fights just over a week out and they’re all accepting risk. They believe in themselves. And to my way of thinking, this is what makes sport so great, when you have world champions or guys who are top five in the world and that’s their mindset. When that’s the case, there’s no better sport in the world. That’s what makes the UFC so great, the mentality of these fighters.”

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For Strickland, the recently minted undisputed middleweight champion headlined UFC 293 back in September against two-time champion, Israel Adesanya, winning the divisional crown with a stunning upset decision win.

Sharing the Octagon with Auchi native, Usman back in 2017 during his welterweight stint, Strickland dropped a one-sided unanimous decision loss at UFC 210 in a preliminary card clash. 

Who faces Sean Strickland after UFC 294: Kamaru Usman or Khamzat Chimaev?