It’s been five months since Khamzat Chimaev submitted Kevin Holland with a brabo choke just two minutes into their UFC 279 scrap, yet “Borz” still doesn’t have his next fight lined up.
It doesn’t look like Chimaev will be fighting any time soon, either. In a recent Instagram post, the Chechen fighter declared he’d be shutting down his training to focus on Ramadan, which runs from March 22nd to April 20th. In a new interview with Submission Radio, Khamzat’s head coach Andreas Michael admitted he was frustrated with the lack of fights.
“Yeah, it has [been frustrating] actually, because we’re used to getting fights back-to-back,” he said. “And a lot of people say they want it, but they don’t want it. Or they price themselves out. Like, ‘I want this and that’, and then all of a sudden they want a million dollars, when their contract is like 50/50. So, it’s not logical either. That’s the fight game.”
The Khamzat of 2020 fought three times in just over a month, but now Michael says they need to be pickier. At this point they either want the champion or someone that will get them to the champion.
“But people are booked. People say they wanna fight but they don’t want to fight. People price themselves out,” he said. “There’s some people that, of course they wanna fight as well, but they don’t make sense. So, there’s a lot of factors [that go] into things. We’re not just gonna fight just for the fight’s sake. Things have to pave the way forward. Of course there’s a lot of people that wanna fight Khamzat. And if he just wanted to, he’d just be like, ‘okay, who’s in the top 20?’. But I think we’re past that, aren’t we?”
“I think we need to get the top dogs right now, or go for a title fight. The top dogs. Like, the number one contender or a title fight. And that’s why there’s not a lot of choices out there at the moment, because our spectrum has closed. It was broad before. Now it’s closed down. We’re honing in. We want the number one contender or the champ. Preferably the champ. And I think he’s earned it.”
Michael also confirmed that Chimaev was moving up to middleweight, which limits things further. He no longer has victims from two weight classes to consider, and everyone at the top of the 185 pound division can say he doesn’t deserve a top five opponent there, let alone a title shot.
Is this why a fight with Robert Whittaker hasn’t come together? Both Whittaker and Chimaev have been left waiting for months now. What does Khamzat’s coach think of that match-up?
“For me, guys, I would prefer a title shot,” he told Submission Radio. “You know, just go right to the meat and potatoes. So, I just want to go for it directly, if I had to choose. But Robert Whitaker didn’t have a fight. He was one of the few that was free at the moment, but that didn’t materialize either for different reasons. And I just think that the guy’s looking for a fight. An amazing guy. Amazing. And a great fighter as well. A great fighter. So, he was just putting the dots together.”
“And Khamzat wanted it. He wants to fight everyone, actually. So, we have to pull the reins in a little bit. And that’s our job. That’s our job to make sense of everything happening and guide him in the right place.”
With Ramadan lasting until the end of April and Chimaev needing a camp after that, the earliest we may see him is UFC 288 on May 6th. It could be longer, though: Andreas Michael suggested International Fight Week at the start of July as a solid date.
That’s over four months away, or about 8 fights in 2020 Khamzat time.