Undefeated welterweight contender, Khamzat Chimaev appears set for a move a division higher to the middleweight ranks – and claims it’s just a matter of time before he lands the undisputed UFC title in a clamored-for showdown with gold holder, Israel Adesanya.
Chimaev, who has competed just twice at the middleweight limit during his tenure with the promotion in a pair of finishes over both John Philips and Gerald Meerschaert, is expected to make a return to the division for the foreseeable future in his next Octagon walk.
Last featuring in the co-main event of UFC 279 last September, the Chechen-born contender was initially scheduled to headline the pay-per-view event against Nate Diaz, however, was pulled from the clash after he missed the welterweight non-title limit by a staggering seven and a half pounds.
Improving to 12-0 as a professional at the flagship event, Chimaev submitted Kevin Holland in a one-sided first round D’Arce choke submission victory.
Expected to return to the Octagon at UFC 294 in October, Chimaev has welcomed a fight with former undisputed welteweight champion and former pound-for-pound number one, Kamaru Usman.
Khamzat Chimaev accuses the UFC of protecting Israel Adesanya from him
Weighing up a future fight with City Kickboxing staple, Adesanya in a middleweight title fight in the future, Chimaev claimed that fans were chomping at the bit for a showdown between the pair.
“For Israel (Adesanya), there’s nobody there – only me,” Khamzat Chimaev said on his YouTube channel. “So, if you spoke about money, if you ask the fans, they want to see me and Israel [fight].”
“I’m a bad matchup for him,” Khamzat Chimaev explained. “Everyone knows he’s going to lose the title [to me]. That’s why they [the UFC] save that guy. You know they built him up. They don’t want to lose him that fight. [I’d] finish that guy without punches, and that’s why they’re scared. Then [his] story’s dead, you know? They don’t want to kill that guy. Maybe the guy makes money for them, but I still make money, as well, so I don’t know what’s going on.”
Also linked to a middleweight division return against would-be common-foe, Paulo Costa, Chimaev took umbrage with the Brazilian’s recent poking at him, claiming he would “kill” the former title challenger if they shared the Octagon.