In what might be the veteran's final UFC match, Khamzat Chimaev will take on Nate Diaz at UFC 279. Diaz suspects he is being utilized to make the Swede a superstar since he seems destined for fame. At the UFC 279 media day, the undefeated welterweight was questioned about a recent altercation he had with Paulo Costa at the UFC Performance Institute.
“Nothing [happened],” Chimaev said. “He was talking s*** about me. I never talked about that guy, maybe once or something. He wants to be famous now.
“Israel [Adesanya] f***** his ass. So what? All the world saw that s***. He has to go back and do something easy.”
The footage, which Costa later released, showed the fighters exchanging words before coming face-to-face with a cage between them. Later he wished to face Khamzat Chimaev if he gets past Nate Diaz on Saturday.
On Wednesday at UFC 279 media day when asked about the potential match-up with the Brazilian, Chimaev quickly ruled out the possibility of fighting Costa after the UFC 279 headliner. Despite having previously competed at middleweight, it doesn't seem like he'll be moving back up to 185 pounds to face Costa.
“Why [should I fight him]?” Chimaev said. “I don’t fight with that guy. Somebody already f***** him up in the ass.”
Chimaev also spoke about the welterweight division, where a victory over Diaz at UFC 279 might have put Kamaru Usman in his crosshairs. After Usman's surprising knockout loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 278 in August, those intentions abruptly changed. Chimaev applauded the British welterweight for pulling off the stunner, especially when it seemed he was sailing toward a decision loss.
“It was an amazing performance,” Chimaev said about Edwards. “He showed his heart. In the last minute, he knocked him out. I am happy for him. He deserved that. He worked hard.”
Edwards and Chimaev were originally supposed to meet, but multiple matches between them were canceled. He was unsure that the newly crowned king of the welterweight might want to reconsider their past rivalry now.
“He doesn’t want to talk about me,” Chimaev said. “I see somebody asked him my name, and he jumped over it. He spoke about [Nate] Diaz, he spoke about [Jorge] Masvidal, [Kamaru] Usman, all of them. The guy doesn’t want to see my face.”
Despite the dispute, Chimaev appears to be happy to put it behind him. Chimaev should devote all of his attention to UFC 279 and Nate Diaz because he is about to compete in his first UFC main event and a win over Diaz might put him next in the fight for the UFC gold.