This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 267, we saw a welterweight showdown between phenom Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) and Li Jingliang (18-7). Li entered the contest ranked 11th and was supposed to present the first real challenge for Chimaev in the UFC.
Chimaev stormed on the scene last year with three quick wins over quality opponents in the span of three months. With how dominant he was the UFC rushed him to the top and booked him against top welterweight contender Leon Edwards.
However, a rough battle with COVID kept Chimaev on the shelf for over a year. This past Saturday, he finally returned and many wondered how he would look. Chimaev looked to be the same, but there were questions about his performance after a battle with COVID.
Couple that with Li as his opponent and it wasn’t expected to be easy for Chimaev. Well, at UFC 267 Chimaev made it look easier than ever. Moments into the fight, Chimaev shot in on Li and picked him up and carried him over to where Dana White was sitting.
Chimaev talked with White as he slammed Li to the ground. From there, the Chechen proceeded to smash Li before locking up a rear naked choke and putting him to sleep. Chimaev has fought four times in the UFC, he’s 4-0 and he’s only been hit once.
What’s next after UFC 267?
I swear I’m not exaggerating in saying this, but I truly believe that Khamzat Chimaev could compete with either of the welterweights fighting at UFC 268. Whether that be the champion Kamaru Usman or the challenger Colby Covington, I really believe Chimaev can compete.
Whether he would win or not in a potential fight with those two is a different story. With how good he looks, what should the UFC do with him next? Well, I think I want to see him fight one more guy on the back end of the top ten before jumping straight to a title eliminator.
Chimaev and Neil Magny (25-8) have had some back-and-forth for a while. Magny has already come out and said that he wanted to fight Chimaev next. UFC President Dana White said the promotion will also talk with Nate Diaz (20-13) about potentially fighting Chimaev.
However, I find it highly unlikely that Diaz would accept that fight. My guess is that Magny is going to be the guy and I think it’ll happen sooner rather than later. Given the way Chimaev is, I wouldn’t even rule out the UFC booking this fight before the end of the year.