When Leon Edwards head kicked Kamaru Usman into the shadow realm, stealing his 170-pound strap in the process, UFC color commentator Daniel Cormier insisted streaking welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev was the biggest post-fight loser.
That’s because the promotion is expected to rubber stamp an immediate rematch for early 2023, which means Chimaev would have to wait several months for a title shot or take another fight, assuming he defeats Nate Diaz in the UFC 279 main event.
Or would he?
“If they want to do [Usman-Edwards 3], for me no problem,” Chimaev told ESPN. “I’m gonna take some other fight, and we will see what’s happening. Maybe Israel Adesanya or the other guy, Alex Pereira. Who wins that, maybe fight with them. I don’t know. We’ll wait for Dana White after my fight. He said after my last fight maybe we’ll fight for the title but it didn’t happen.”
Chimaev (11-0) is also undefeated at middleweight.
Giving “Borz” first crack at the winner of Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira, who collide atop the UFC 281 pay-per-view (PPV) card this Nov. in New York, sounds silly on paper. Then again, there aren’t many (if any) Top 10 middleweights with a stronger case for a title shot.
None of this really matters unless Chimaev can have a breakout performance at UFC 279, akin to the drubbing he gave Li Jingliang at UFC 267 back in late 2021. Expect Diaz to have something (more) to say about that when the cage door closes on Sept. 10 in Las Vegas.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 279 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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