Khamzat Chimaev now appears to be facing former middleweight title challenger, Jared Cannonier.
Following making quick work of Kevin Holland in September of 2022, it seemed that Chimaev would be ready to make a quick return to the octagon. However, 10 months on and the 29-year-old has nothing booked after being linked with several opponents from 170-185lbs.
With documented issue making weight, Chimaev’s next step is a little more difficult than it should be, had he made weight for his cancelled bout against Nate Diaz. ‘Borz’ has bounced between the two weight classes, but his best chance at winning a UFC title appeared to be at welterweight given his natural size and strength advantage at the division.
For a while, it appeared that he would in fact be making the jump to middleweight to face Paulo Costa, in what would have been a highly intriguing contest given Costa’s athletic ability. Then, Chimaev was linked to a bout with former champion, Kamaru Usman, with the pair going back-and-forth most recently as yesterday.
While both Usman and Chimaev seemed keen for the fight, it now seems that Chimaev will return against a top middleweight.
Khamzat Chimaev’s next potential opponent leaked
Thanks to post by one of Chimaev’s coaches, Azamat Dugulubgov, and some crafting fans, it now appears that his next opponent will in fact be No.3 ranked middleweight, Jared Cannonier.
Dugulubgov posted to Instagram a photo of a UFC fight with the fighters blurred out, captioning it – “Already studying the next opponent for the Borz.”
It didn’t take long for fans to make comparisons to previous fights, and it appears to match up perfectly to a fight between Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum.
Gastleum is currently booked against Shavkat Rakhmonov after moving back down from middleweight. A fight between Cannonier and Chimaev had also been discussed after the ‘Killa Gorilla’ had been asked about the fight following his recent win over Marvin Vettori.
Who wins, Khamzat Chimaev or Jared Cannonier?