Khamzat Chimaev might be moving up to the middleweight division for his next fight. The current number three ranked contender in the UFC Welterweight rankings has demonstrated his ability to fight in multiple weight classes. However, in his last bout, he was too heavy, missing weight by 7.5 pounds for his scheduled match against Nate Diaz. Despite this, Chimaev dominated Kevin Holland and secured a win via a d’arce choke submission in just over two minutes. He now thinks that a high-stakes middleweight fight against the former champion of the division is on the horizon.
“I think I will fight Robert Whittaker,” Chimaev told Red Corner MMA. “He’s got no opponent. Paulo Costa ran away after talking that much about me and Robert. So, I will fight Whittaker. I want this fight although I like him as a human being. He is a solid guy, doesn’t talk trash, doesn’t cross any lines.
“We are going to have fun at the press conference and fight each other,” he concluded.
Whittaker was scheduled to face Paulo Costa this weekend (Saturday, February 11, 2023) at UFC 284. However, things went sour when Costa's contract negotiations caused the fight to end.
Chimaev has already had two fights at middleweight in the Octagon, easily defeating John Phillips and knocking out Gerald Meerschaert in just 16 seconds. If he were to fight Robert Whittaker, it would be his biggest challenge yet, regardless of the weight class. Although Chimaev has faced top middleweight contender Jack Hermansson in grappling, he has never faced a top contender in MMA. Despite this, with the upcoming welterweight title trilogy between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman set to take place at UFC 286 on March 18th, Chimaev still sees himself as a potential challenger for that title.
“Whoever takes it will face me,” Chimaev said of Edwards versus Usman 3. “I think it’s going to be another close fight. Let’s see if Leon will be able to take Kamaru out once again. To be honest, I expected Usman to retire after getting knocked out like that.”