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.

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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.

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“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.” 

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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

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.