Expected to challenge for undisputed middleweight gold in his return to the Octagon following a title-eliminator win at UFC 294 earlier this month, the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev has been backed to likely fall short in his challenge against champion, Sean Strickland, by the surging, Dricus du Plessis.
Chimaev, who debuted at number nine in the official middleweight pile off the back of his return to the division earlier this month, landed a close, majority decision win over former undisputed welterweight champion and pound-for-pound number one, Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 back in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Khamzat Chimaev tipped to fall short in title fight with Sean Strickland
And expected to challenge for undisputed gold against Strickland in his return to the Octagon as he continues to recover from a hand ligament tear suffered in his win over Usman, Khamzat Chimaev has been tipped to struggle any time he fights Strickland, according to South African contender, du Plessis.
“When you look at this, I have one or two options,” Dricus du Plessis told Sherdog during a recent interview. “The first thing I can say is a little bit of a jab is Khamzat’s (Chimaev) hand is broken, right? So, he should be ready to fight in seven weeks or he forfeits his title shot because that’s what happened to me. I wasn’t ready to fight in seven weeks with a broken foot.”
“If you want to give Khamzat the title shot, go right ahead?” du Plessis explained. “Because the Khamzat that fought this weekend loses to Sean Strickland every day of the week.”
Himself sidelined since he featured on the main card of UFC 290 during International Fight Week back in July, du Plessis turned in a title-eliminator win over former titleholder, Robert Whittaker in a stunning second round TKO win.
Expected to fight former champion, Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 back in September, du Plessis was forced from the championship clash due to a lingering injury.
Who wins in a future title fight: Sean Strickland or Khamzat Chimaev?