Khamzat Chimaev will have a lot to prove in his next time out.
UFC 279 saw an unprecedented last-minute shuffling of its final three bouts after the undefeated “Borz” missed weight by a whopping seven and a half pounds on weigh-in day. Chimaev’s unprofessionalism led to him being pulled from his main event matchup opposite Nate Diaz and slotted in the co-main event against Kevin Holland.
Both Chimaev and Diaz won their new respective matchups and are now headed in very different directions. With Diaz on the way out of the promotion, Chimaev remains ranked No. 3 in the official UFC welterweight rankings, but his ability to comfortably make the weight limit is in question.
For Sean O’Malley, one of the bantamweight division’s largest 135-pound athletes, he’s not so sure how much truth may have come from Chimaev’s claims of the doctors halting his weight-cutting process.
“I’ve never in my five-six years in the UFC had a doctor come and check on me during weight cuts,” O’Malley said on his YouTube channel. “I’m sure if they come look at me the last pound when I’m in the bathtub, they’d probably say to anybody, ‘Whoa.’ Like, a doctor comes in, they’re not used to seeing humans like that.”
Seemingly reluctant to make the middleweight division his primary weight class in the UFC, Chimaev has already found great success there. In two of his six UFC bouts, Chimaev obtained early success, dispatching of John Phillips in his promotional debut before starching Gerald Meerschaert in 16 seconds with one punch.
Chimaev has out grappled top 185-pound contender Jack Hermansson in a grappling match and expressed interest in facing the winner of the upcoming title fight between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira. Additionally, he’s appeared to have sprouted a rivalry with Paulo Costa, therefore, leading all scenarios to middleweight for the Sweden resident should these welterweight endeavors be too physically taxing as many, like O’Malley, are starting to believe.
“I want to see him at 185 because even when he fought Gilbert Burns, he did the towel thing, lost five pounds,” O’Malley said. “When was the last time Khamzat made 170 actually? Not the last two fights so it’s probably been over a year.
“I want to watch his next fight, I’m so curious who it’s gonna be. It can’t be Colby [Covington]. He’s not gonna make 170, dude. I just don’t see him — I don’t even know if UFC will book him at 170. But it doesn’t seem like he wants to go up to 185. Which is kind of surprising because he is big and he is super f****** skilled. And he’s gotta be confident. I don’t know if he wants those fights up there. Those are big boys.”
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Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-7) vs. Jailton Almeida (17-2); UFC 280, Oct. 22
Albert Duraev (15-4) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (17-5, 1 NC); UFC Vegas 66, Dec. 17
Despite the severity of the miss, I think the Chimaev weight stuff is being blown a bit out of proportion. If it happens again then we’ll have some real cause for concern. Book him against Covington on the Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3 event.
Thanks for reading!