After dominant win at UFC 279, what’s next for Khamzat Chimaev?

Daniel Cunningham
Sep 10, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Khamzat Chimaev (red gloves) fights Kevin Holland (blue gloves) during UFC 279 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 279, we saw a catchweight fight that had a ton of heat behind it. Khamzat Chimaev (12-0) was looking to stay unbeaten as he took on “The Trailblazer” Kevin Holland (23-8, 1 NC).

Originally, Chimaev was supposed to face Nate Diaz in the main event. However, he came in massively overweight which caused the card to change around. After a backstage altercation with Holland earlier in the week, the UFC decided to put these two against each other.

Holland had been training for Daniel Rodriguez so this was a massive change of styles and it showed. When the fight started, Chimaev shot for a takedown within seconds. Holland forced several scrambles, but through everything, Chimaev held on.

Ultimately, he ended up locking in a d’arce choke. Holland fought it for as long as he could, but he was forced to tap giving Chimaev the win at UFC 279. It was the fourth win in Chimaev’s UFC career where he didn’t absorb one strike.

What’s next after UFC 279?

Think of that last sentence one more time. Chimaev is 6-0 in the UFC and in four of those wins, he hasn’t absorbed a single strike. One of the two fights he did, it was two shots that he took on the ground while he held top position. Only Gilbert Burns has been able to touch Khamzat Chimaev.

If Chimaev made weight and dominated like this, we’d be talking about a potential UFC title shot. However, Chimaev didn’t make weight and that has caused there to be some pause regarding what’s next. A big question is whether he’ll fight at welterweight or middleweight next.

If he fights at welterweight, I think the perfect fight for him would be Colby Covington. Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman are going to have their trilogy for the UFC welterweight title. Covington would be a huge test for Chimaev and whoever wins would make for a clear number one contender.

However, he might have to fight at 185 next given how badly he missed the welterweight limit. If he fights at 185, I like the idea of him fighting either Paulo Costa or Robert Whittaker. Whittaker is the best in the world outside of Adesanya and there’s already heat with Paulo Costa. One of these three should be next for Chimaev.