Khamzat Chimaev has the highest-profile fight of his young superstar career lined up.
UFC 279 on Sept. 10, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada, will play host to “Borz’s” first UFC main event when he takes on fan-favorite, Nate Diaz. Despite the match up being speculated for a few months, the community was largely surprised when things became official as Chimaev is a top contender, while Diaz has lost two straight.
Seated as the No. 3-ranked contender in the official UFC rankings, Chimaev is on the cusp of his first career title shot and will likely get it by defeating Diaz, extending his unbeaten record to 12. However, the 28-year-old claims he was lined up for a shot at the winner of Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards 2 regardless.
“I don’t need to fight with Nate Diaz,” Chimaev told The MMA Hour. “If I wanted to wait, this is gonna take a long time. Usman fights one time in one year. He has everything. He has money, he has pound-for-pound No. 1, that’s why he wants to wait. He takes long times and doesn’t want to lose his belts. And everyone knows I’m coming for them, younger, hungrier, I’m almost 10 years younger [than all the guys in the top 10].”
The champion, Usman, aims to defend his title at UFC 278 on Aug. 20, 2022, in a rematch with Edwards. After that, he’s interested in potentially taking his talents to the Light Heavyweight division.
Also one open to bouncing around divisions, Chimaev teased going back up to 185 pounds after a Diaz win because he doesn’t want to wait on Usman. Not necessarily rooting for “The Nigerian Nightmare” to retain at UFC 278, Chimaev does hope he wins so that he can ultimately be the one to take the crown.
“Yes, of course,” Chimaev asked when asked if he wants to be the one to beat Usman. “Because if Leon wins, I don’t think he’ll be pound-for-pound No. 1. They gonna change it with somebody else. I’m gonna fight pound-for-pound No. 1 and beat that guy and make me close to pound-for-pound No. 1, defend the title or go up and take the title. They’re gonna make me pound-for-pound.”
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