Khamzat Chimaev lands at #9 in middleweight division in new UFC rankings update ahead of title fight

Khamzat Chimaev debuts as #9 in new middleweight rankings after UFC 294 title eliminator win

Off the back of his close, majority decision win over former undisputed welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman in an officially billed championship-eliminator at UFC 294 over the course of last weekend, undefeated contender, Khamzat Chimaev has only landed at number nine in the 185lbs weight class, as part of the latest rankings update.

Chimaev, who returned to the Octagon for the first time since he co-headlined UFC 279 back in September of last year, managed to turn in a close, majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28) victory against former pound-for-pound number one, Usman in Abu Dhabi, UAE – in the pair’s official title-eliminator, 

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Improving to 13-0 with his judging win as a result, Khamzat Chimaev has been immediately pegged to challenge for middleweight gold against incumbent division champion, Sean Strickland in his return to the Octagon – having defeated Usman in what UFC CEO, Dana White officially branded as a championship-eliminator bout.

Khamzat Chimaev debuts at #9 in new middleweight rankings update

However, as part of the new official rankings update today, the Chechen-born force has only debuted at number nine in the pile, behind other contenders, Jack Hermansson, Roman Dolidze, Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori, Jared Cannonier, Robert Whittaker, Dricus du Plessis, and ex-champion, Israel Adesanya. 

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And as far as the above-mentioned, Strickland is concerned, while he has no issue fighting Chimaev in the future, off the back of his UFC 294 win over Usman on just 10 days’ notice, he’s not sure the undefeated contender has earned his shot thoroughly

“The only thing I like about (Khamzat) Chimaev is that he sells fights,” Sean Strickland said. “For some reason, people f*cking like him or don’t like him, I don’t know. To me, he’s a f*cking paycheck. He sells a lot of fights. People pay to watch but he f*cking hasn’t earned it [title fight].”

“He doesn’t f*cking deserve it but here we are,” Sean Strickland explained. “Give it to him. He sells a lot of fights. I’ll go f*cking fight the man for five rounds. But no, he has not earned it. He doesn’t f*cking deserve it and getting a decision with a welterweight off the couch does not f*cking earn it.”

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Does Khamzat Chimaev deserve a title fight after his UFC 294 victory?