The quest for Khamzat Chimaev’s next opponent continues, and apparently it’s not been an easy slot to fill for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Following Chimaev’s one punch knockout of Gerald Meerschaert at 185 pounds, it became apparent that putting the Chechen fighter against Demian Maia at Welterweight as originally planned wasn’t as great of a test as first envisioned. That was when UFC apparently thought Chimaev was more of a grappling specialist. After learning he could strike, a less specialized opponent was necessary.
The new leading candidate, at least for a hot minute: Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, ranked No. 5 at 170 pounds. The news that UFC was looking into throwing the karate fighter against Khamzat came out via Brazilian outlet Combate in the hours leading up to UFC 253, but the premature leak may have sunk the fight entirely as Thompson made it clear he wanted no part of Chimaev.
Reports circulating that Khamzat Chimaev x Stephen Thompson is done for 11/19. I know that's a fight UFC wanted, but just spoke to @WonderboyMMA who says that fight isn’t a done at all & he isn’t interested. He wants a top-ranked opponent like Leon Edwards or Jorge Masvidal next.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 27, 2020
Sorry, 12/19.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 27, 2020
Will be curious to see how this plays out. One thing is for certain: they appear to have moved away from the Demian Maia-Chimaev idea (for now).
“We’ve offered it to Wonderboy,” UFC President, Dana White, said at the UFC 253 post-fight press conference. “Wonderboy wants to fight Leon Edwards so we’ll we’ll see how this plays out.... Wonderboy wants Leon. So we’re nowhere on that thing for anybody to report it. It’s total f**king bulls**t and typical MMA f**king silliness.”
If UFC can’t get Khamzat vs. Wonderboy lined up, it sounds like Chimaev is happy to go even higher ...
What do you think, Maniacs? Who represents a solid challenge for Khamzat without also being an irresponsible jump in competition? One of the nice things about “Borz” is that you can choose from Welterweight and Middleweight opponents.