Khamzat Chimaev’s time on the sidelines is coming to an end, and a major fight is brewing.
The UFC’s hottest prospect has been on the shelf since his win over Kevin Holland at UFC 279. Currently, Chimaev is training in Abu Dhabi, which is the hosting location for UFC 294. According to Chimaev, he’s sounding pretty certain that his opponent will be former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
“I’m already here in Dubai, living here, training camp, everything is good, so I’ve been in shape a long time ago. I’ve been in Thailand training camp, I’ve been here training camp, I’ve been in Sweden training, so just waiting for the opponent and the contract, so we’ll see what’s going to happen…Usman wants to fight. I’ll make his last fight.”
Chimaev has long been linked to middleweight bruiser Paulo Costa, and there is enough mutual dislike between them that a fight is likely. However, that fight will be on the backburner as Chimaev is hoping to remain at welterweight for the time being.
As it stands, Chimaev is ranked #5 at welterweight. Usman remains the #1 ranked fighter despite back-to-back losses to Leon Edwards.
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kamaru Usman is a huge fight
Chimaev getting back in the saddle against the declining Usman would be a big deal. UFC 294 figures to be a major event and Chimaev vs. Usman is a big pay-per-view seller.
A victory over Gilbert Burns established his credentials as a top fighter at welterweight. Usman would be the best opponent he’s faced so far and a logical opponent. Even though Usman is declining, it would be foolish to write him off. If anything, Usman should be fresher for Chimaev.
If Chimaev does win, he’ll be a lock to face the winner of the yet-to-be-announced Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington fight. Both fighters have bones to pick with Chimaev, and Edwards had multiple fights with him fall through.
Chimaev is already on the shortlist for a title fight with another big win. Even if he does dispose of what’s left of Usman, it will be enough to have him fighting for gold in his next fight.