When Alex Pereira beat the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight belt off Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 (watch it), you could almost hear the drool dripping out of the mouths of all the 185-pound wrestlers in the division. It doesn’t take a master gameplanner to see where “Poatan’s” weakness lies, if one of these grappling specialists can get booked against the kickboxer-turned UFC champ.
Unfortunately for all these guys, UFC is quite locked on an immediate rematch between Adesanya and Pereira before anyone else gets to step in and try their luck. That didn’t stop Khamzat Chimaev’s coach, Andreas Michael, from suggesting a future showdown, though.
“Middleweight [is where I really want to see him next],” Michael said in a Dubai training camp video uploaded to Chimaev’s YouTube channel. “For the belt — I would like that. That’s an amazing fight [with Alex Pereira]. We can fight at [Welterweight] no problem. It’s no problem at all.”
Chimaev’s last fight turned into a complete clusterf— after “Borz” showed up for his UFC 279 fight against Nate Diaz overweight (details here). The Chechen fighter was so heavy that half the pay-per-view (PPV) main card had to be re-designed, with three fights getting flipped. He got swapped into a 180-pound Catchweight against Kevin Holland, which he won in little more than two minutes (watch highlights).
Since that incident, people have been questioning whether Chimaev can even make 170 pounds reliably any more. Michael certainly had the subject on his mind while speaking to the camera.
“It’s just good preparation and good warning for if we’re gonna go drop down in weight, then we need time and it’s done,” he said, clearly unhappy that he didn’t have a firm date for Chimaev’s next fight. “Not this five weeks or four weeks preparation thing because it’s not doable in that time.
“Right now he’s like 196,” he continued. “He can make weight like tomorrow. 185, it’s no problem. Even if everyone thinks that he’s 300 now.”
In the same video, Chimaev said he was targeting UFC 285 in March, but no one would sign a contract to fight him thus far.
“Nobody wants to fight,” Khamzat said. “F— these boys. They gave me four different countries, four different opponents, nobody want to fight.”
Could Chimaev step into the Middleweight title picture against “Poatan” if Adesanya is injured or otherwise unavailable in early 2023? Despite Khamzat having no ranked wins at 185 pounds, money does talk and “Borz” is clearly one of UFC’s biggest stars coming into 2023.
And as we learned from the UFC 279 card shuffle, anything is possible when you can sell PPV units.