Khamzat Chimaev Plots Middleweight Return With UFC 279 Win Over Nate Diaz

Khamzat Chimaev
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC & Carmen Mandato

Khamzat Chimaev insists that he is willing to make a return to the middleweight limit of 185lbs should welterweight kingpin, Kamaru Usman elect to sit out should he defeat incoming title challenger, Leon Edwards in August.

Khamzat Chimaev, who returns to the Octagon himself in September, headlines UFC 279 against one-time lightweight title challenger and sport veteran, Nate Diaz – in search of his sixth UFC victory from six Octagon walks.

The Chechen bruiser most recently featured at UFC 273 back in April against former welterweight championship chaser, Gilbert Burns, scoring the most high-profile victory of his Octagon tenure to date with a unanimous decision effort. 

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As for Diaz, the Stockton fan-favorite will complete his contractual obligations when his five round headliner with Chimaev concludes on September 10. – as the veteran plans his exit from the promotion to boot. 

Khamzat Chimaev appears willing to accommodate the welterweight champion post-UFC 279

#3 ranked welterweight contender, Chimaev has, however, opened the door to a middleweight division return should he defeat Diaz, and Usman defeats Edwards – amid consistent rumblings of clashes with both Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira. 

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“After (Nate) Diaz, maybe I’m gonna go up (to middleweight),” Khamzat Chimaev told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “If (Kamaru) Usman wanna wait a long time, maybe I’m gonna go up to ‘84 (sic) and fight somebody there – because I wanna take both belts.” 

Expected to likely challenge for welterweight gold with a victory over Diaz in two months’ time, Chimaev, as mentioned earlier, has been continually linked with a middleweight outing against either champion, Adesanya, or fellow berserker – Pereira – who themselves are expected to meet in a middleweight title offing before the conclusion of 2022. 

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During his promotional-perfect tenure, Chimaev has landed a quintet of John Philips, Rhys McKee, Gerald Meerschaert, Li Jingliang, and the aforenoted, Burns. 

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.