Undefeated contender Khamzat Chimaev has a straightforward plan heading into his return to the Octagon this fall.
By the time ‘Borz’ straps on the four-ounce gloves once again, it will have been more than a year removed from his first-round shellacking of Kevin Holland at UFC 279. But we suspect the long wait will be worth it as Khamzat Chimaev is set to square off with one-time UFC title challenger Paulo Costa. The pair are set to meet in a middleweight clash at UFC 294, as announced by Dana White early this week.
Speaking backstage at UFC London on Saturday, Chimaev shared his plan come October 21 and some advice for a long and happy life in general.
“Smash somebody. Make money. Be happy,” Chimaev said. “Guys, be ready. Don’t blink. I’ll smash this guy easy.”
UFC 294 will emanate from Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi where Khamzat Chimaev now calls home. Asked what it means to compete in the UAE capital, Chimaev said:
“In Abu Dhabi, it’s a different energy. They love me so much there, it’s like I’m home. My home town. Smash somebody there.”
Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa will Vie for a Potential Title Opportunity
Khamzat Chimaev will step into the contest boasting an undefeated record of 12-0 with six of those victories coming under the UFC banner. ‘Borz’ stormed into the promotion in 2020 and scored three wins in an eight-week span. Chimaev saw his career go on a brief hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he came back with a vengeance, landing finishes against Li Jingliang and Kevin Holland. However, his biggest win thus far came in a three-round war with perennial contender Gilbert Burns at UFC 273.
After spending the majority of his run in the welterweight division, ‘Borz’ will move to middleweight in hopes of earning a shot at the reigning 185-pound champion, Israel Adesanya.
Standing his way of that task will be Paulo Costa, a middleweight mainstay who will be making his own return to the Octagon after a lengthy layoff. The last time fans saw ‘The Eraser’ inside the cage was at UFC 278 in August 2022. Costa earned a unanimous decision win against Luke Rockhold, snapping a two-fight losing streak.
UFC 294 is scheduled to be headlined by a lightweight championship rematch between reigning titleholder Islam Makhachev and ex-champ Charles Oliveira.