The last 24 hours have been some of the most chaotic in the history of UFC.
Aside from the dissolution of the UFC-USADA relationship, the UFC 294 pay-per-view (PPV0 fight card lost both its main and co-main event, forcing matchmakers to find new opponents for lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and middleweight phenom Khamzat Chimaev.
Reigning featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski will rematch Makhachev and former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will jump up in weight to collide with Chimaev, no stranger to the 170-pound weight class. I guess this former titleholder was right about jaws and floors.
Before Usman was announced as Chimeav’s new opponent, speculation was running rampant on social media. Undefeated middleweight sensation Bo Nickal was a favorite among fantasy matchmakers, partly because he’s always in shape and ready to make weight but mostly because of his history with Chimaev.
Turns out Nickal was never an option.
“I was not offered to fight at UFC 294,” Nickal wrote on Twitter. “Everyone knows I want the fight, looks like we will do it in the future with full camps which is preferable. I want to beat everyone at their best with a full camp preparing for me.”
Nickal is a perfect 5-0 with five first-round finishes, but has yet to face anyone in the division Top 15. As for Chimaev, also undefeated at 12-0, his last performance came against Kevin Holland in a catchweight bout at UFC 279 back in late 2022.
No telling when (or if) these two middleweight bruisers will cross paths in the near future. That will likely require them both to keep winning but as of this writing, it seems the 185-pound division is still up for grabs after the fall of Israel Adesanya.
See you in three-to-four more fights?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 294 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card start time at 10 p.m. ET (also on ESPN+).
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 294: “Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.