One of the biggest rising stars in the UFC is moving to a new weight class for good. Khamzat Chimaev (12-0) is making the move up to middleweight for his next fight per his head coach Andreas Michael. Granted, nobody should be surprised after the debacle at UFC 279 when Chimaev came in nine pounds over the welterweight limit.
In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Michael said, “He’s going to fight at middleweight. But, if the title comes at welterweight, miracles can happen. We will get him down (to 170), don’t worry.” So, Michael isn’t closing the door for good on 170, but it’s highly unlikely.
In terms of what they are looking for at 185, Chimaev wants to go right to the top. He’s currently the third ranked welterweight in the world and his coach is saying that he wants either a number one contender bout at 185 or he wants to fight for the title right away.
Who will the UFC pair him with?
Chimaev recently called out former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker on social media. Personally, this is the fight that makes the most sense. Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira are fighting again in April for the middleweight title.
I think the UFC wants Chimaev to fight in the late spring or early summer, so it doesn’t appear that a title fight is going to be next for him. Robert Whittaker was supposed to fight Paulo Costa at UFC 284, but the fight fell through.
Whittaker is coming off a very impressive win over Marvin Vettori. Meanwhile Chimaev is coming off a dominant submission win over Kevin Holland. It’s a fight that makes sense and it’s a fight that the fans would get behind. Writing is on the wall if you ask me.