Morning Report: Darren Till says Khamzat Chimaev ‘tried his utmost’ to make weight at UFC 279, believes he can still make 170 pounds ‘comfortably’


Darren Till believes Khamzat Chimaev can make welterweight, even if maybe he wouldn’t advise him to do so.

At UFC 279, Chimaev missed weight for his scheduled bout with Nate Diaz, coming in 7.5 pounds over the welterweight limit, leading the UFC to reshuffle the top three fights on the card. In the aftermath, Chimaev blamed the doctor for not allowing him to continue cutting weight, while some fans suggested that Chimaev didn’t even attempt to do so, instead arguing that “Borz” simply wasn’t committed. Till disagrees with both of those interpretations though.

“I see what Khamzat did to make the weight. He tried his utmost,” Till told ESPN. “I don’t want to go into detail about it, but I know what he did, and the right decision was to stop cutting. Every fighter will know this… His body just shut down. His body stopped responding at a certain point. Now okay, it was at a bad point where he was like seven, eight pounds over. But what can you do? Do you want to do it like me, where I completely went blind for the [Jorge] Masvidal weight cut and then look what happens?

“I’m not saying Masvidal didn’t beat me fair and square, I’m just saying that if I’d been at a healthy weight — like middleweight when Kelvin Gastelum was throwing shots at my chin I was eating them, because I’m healthy. So it was the right move for Khamzat to stop cutting, because things would have gotten considerably worse.”

Till knows a thing or two about what he speaks. Beginning his UFC career as a welterweight, weight troubles were a consistent issue for “The Gorilla,” and he twice badly missed weight for bouts. Till finally moved up to the middleweight division in 2019 and has had no such issues since. Though this was only Chimaev’s first weight miss, many are calling for him to do the same, and while Till sort of agrees, he also believes that Chimaev can still make 170 pounds without too much issue.

“I wouldn’t [advise him to go back to welterweight], but the only thing I know with Khamzat is he can make welterweight comfortably, because his body carries so much muscle and muscle carries the most water,” Till said. “When you are doing a weight cut, the more muscle you have the easier it is to lose, to drop the weight because your muscle carries a lot of water. You can’t trim fat in one night. Khamzat needs to come in fight week, maybe – it’s not much — one kilo, two kilos lighter and he will make the weight comfortably. Just a few adjustments. He’s still new. He shot to stardom, the same thing I did, and there’s still things to learn.”

For his part, Chimaev also seems intent that he can make 170 pounds and so, for the time being, his stated weight class is unlikely to change. What has changed though is the fan perception of him. Heading into UFC 279, Chimaev was the next big thing for the UFC, but after the various fiascos on fight week, Chimaev has turned into a full-blown heel in the company. And Till says he advised his friend to steer into the skid.

“It’s time to embrace being the bad guy now. Embrace it,” Till said. “I feel like since my career started… I felt like a bad guy a lot of the time. But I just said to him after the press conference, the weight cut, ‘What are you going to do mate? Just embrace it. You’re the villain, now. You’re the bad guy, you’re the Joker. You’re the evil guy. So just embrace it. And he did. [Laughs]. So good. So good.”


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Mark Lemminger (12-5) vs. Michael Lombardo (12-3-1); Bellator 289, Dec. 9.

Cody Law (6-1) vs. Cris Lencioni (9-3); Bellator 289, Dec. 9.


Thanks for reading! See y’all tomorrow.


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