The UFC pay-per-view event this past Saturday in Las Vegas had one of the most dramatic lineup changes in the organization's history due to Chimaev's over seven-pound weight-cutting error for the scheduled welterweight main event match against Nate Diaz. By rearranging the six competitors in the top three fights, organizers were able to save the card, and Chimaev eventually faced Kevin Holland in the co-main event.
Chimaev defeated Holland via overwhelming first-round submission, but he must now decide whether he can stay under the 170-pound weight limit.
In order to explain the problem and correct faults that were made in training camp, his coach Andreas Michael made an appearance on The MMA Hour on Monday.
“His whole career he’s been fighting at welterweight,” Michael said. “He’s missed weight this time, but it’s not as if he’s been missing weight all the time. Of course, he’s been having a hard time making weight, but he’s always made weight. The point of the thing is that we’re going to make it easier and fight at middleweight some of the fights, but we’re game for welterweight as well.
“We’re not going to lose our ranking there, hopefully, because we’re so close to a title fight there. Once we take the belt there, we’re going to pursue the middleweight division with all our hearts. Right now, some fights are going to be at middleweight, some are going to be at middleweight, worthwhile fights. But that’s up to the UFC, of course, that’s not up to us.”
It was unclear whether Chimaev would even remain on the card after a wild 12-hour period in which he was clearly struggling to cut weight during morning weigh-ins. Chimaev was "locking up and cramping" while attempting to lose weight, according to UFC President Dana White, who later revealed to ESPN that his physicians had forbidden him from continuing the procedure.
Michael made it clear that he had decided to stop losing weight after consulting with doctors. He also made it plain that neither his team nor the UFC had any grand plans in mind when Chimaev missed the mark.
The coach continued by saying that Chimaev had even gone so far as to promise him his purse to Diaz.
He wanted to fight Nate,” Michael said. “I said to him, ‘The doctor told you, you can’t continue and I’m going to stop the weight cut. I’m going to stop it because in all honesty I can’t go against the doctor’s words. Think if something happened. I’d never forgive myself. So what I said to him was that you better prepare yourself so that you’re not going to get in a fight.
Chimaev would like to stay at welterweight if Michael has his way in order to contend for the title in that weight class.
Where do you see Khamzat Chimaev fighting in his next bout in the UFC? Does he stay at Welterweight and move up to Middleweight?