Morning Report: Kevin Holland: Khamzat Chimaev ‘can do whatever the f*** he wants to do’ going forward


Kevin Holland witnessed firsthand exactly how talented Khamzat Chimaev is.

The chaos of UFC 279 is now a distant memory as 2022 nears its end. Holland, 30, suffered an eighth career loss that night, falling to “Borz” after the two got into a backstage scuffle on the day of the pre-fight press conference.

Originally, Chimaev was scheduled for the main event opposite Nate Diaz with Holland to fight two fights prior against Daniel Rodriguez. On weigh-in day, however, Chimaev missed his 170-pound welterweight mark by seven and a half pounds. The shocking scale count led to a full reshuffle of UFC 279’s final three fights as Holland and Chimaev were around the same weight, leading to a 180-pound catchweight tilt.

Chimaev needed slightly over two minutes to finish Holland with a brabo choke after imposing his will with his thus far unstoppable wrestling game. As impressive as the performance against Holland was, the nature of Chimaev’s drastic weight miss has many unsure of which division the undefeated 12-0 talent should stick with going forward.

“Timing is everything,” Holland told CBS Sports. “With the right fights at the right times, the dude matches up. I feel like Colby [Covington] might be too small to take it to him. But that being said, if Colby can take it to rounds three, four, and five, it could be a different story. [Chimaev] against [Kamaru] Usman, I think that would be the best fight, but maybe Usman’s not the same after Leon [Edwards]. I think the sky’s the limit.

“At middleweight, depends on who he’s fighting. If he’s fighting certain guys, it might not be as easy. I think that the champ is a really good fight for him right now. Is he deserving of the championship fight right now at 185? No. Moreso at 170 pounds? Yes. He missed weight in his last fight so maybe he has to win one more before he gets there. The kid can do whatever the f*** he wants to do. And quite frankly, I think he could do a lot.”

Holland is believed to have been compensated handsomely for his willingness to accept the short-notice changeup against as dangerous of a matchup as Chimaev. Shortly after his shortcoming, “Trailblazer” even retired.

Like most MMA retirements, it didn’t last as Holland is back in action this Saturday night in the UFC Orlando main event vs. Stephen Thompson. Ultimately, it was all a bit of a business strategy from the Contender Series alum.

“Sometimes you just got to play with the water a little bit,” Holland said of his short-lived retirement. “And I think right then and there at the time, I was playing with the water a little bit. Seeing what would go if I did decide to possibly take that route or to see if some things that were said were going to really happen. And I played the route, I tested the water and the water was great on both sides. It was great outside of the cage and it’s great to get back in the cage. So just a test of the water.”


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It has a zero percent chance of happening, but imagine the scenes of Alex Pereira’s proposed light heavyweight fight against Chimaev in Brazil for UFC’s first PPV of 2023. Let’s get wild, man.

Thanks for reading!


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