One of the biggest stories in the UFC during 2020 was the rise of Khamzat Chimaev (9-0). Chimaev made his debut on Fight Island in July and dominated his way to a victory. Just ten days after his debut, Chimaev fought again on Fight Island.
This time, Chimaev fought at his natural weight class of 170 pounds. Chimaev took on prospect Rhys McKee and completely dominated him as well. Two incredibly dominant UFC victories in the span of ten days and the hype train was off and running.
From there, Chimaev went back to 185 pounds and fought Gerald Meerschaert. Meerschaert had been in there with some really tough guys and was supposed to test Chimaev. After dominating his first two fights with his wrestling, Chimaev showed off his striking against Meerschaert.
Just 17 seconds into the first round, Khamzat Chimaev knocked Gerald Meerschaert out. The UFC then had trouble getting Chimaev a fight. Incredibly, the promotion settled on an opponent and it was the third ranked welterweight in the world, Leon Edwards (18-3).
The matchup was scheduled for December. However, Edwards came down with COVID and the fight was cancelled. The UFC tried rebooking the fight two more times, however, Chimaev’s own troubles with COVID cancelled the fight both times.
Chimaev was recently flown to the US for medical care due to his complications from COVID. The UFC is now looking at a June return for Chimaev who is currently ranked fifteenth in the welterweight division. I believe they are already sizing up the perfect opponent for Chimaev.
UFC booking Chimaev – Magny?
While the UFC was looking for an opponent for Chimaev in 2020, there was one welterweight who was vocal about his desire to fight him. That welterweight was Neil Magny (24-8). The Haitian Sensation has been very vocal about wanting to fight Chimaev for a while now.
The two have recently gone back and forth on social media which has added fuel to the fire. The UFC is going to need an opponent for Chimaev to come back to and there aren’t many that are better for him that Magny.
Magny had a very good 2020 going 3-0. He is coming off of a loss to Michael Chiesa, however, he’s still a fixture in the UFC’s top 15 at welterweight. The fight makes sense from a rankings perspective and there’s heat there. In reality, this was probably a more logical next step for Chimaev anyway.