Dana White has put an end to the mystery surrounding Khamzat Chimaev’s return to action. While the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president is unsure when the undefeated Chechen fighter will make his next walk he does know it will happen in the UFC’s middleweight division, and against the top fighters in the weight class.
Chimaev, who has been competing at both 170 and 185 pounds since his UFC arrival back in 2020, badly missed weight for his last fight at UFC 279. “Borz” missed so badly that his welterweight clash with Nate Diaz was canceled and Chimaev was then matched up against Kevin Holland in a 180-pound catchweight affair. Of course, Chimaev had his way with Holland and scored a first-round submission win (watch HERE).
While Chimaev remains one of the most dominant contenders in the sport today fight fans didn’t know which weight class he was going to compete in next. UFC was unlikely to trust Chimaev to hit the welterweight benchmark again — especially in a potential title fight — so many believed he would officially move up to middleweight. Chimaev has dropped hints for both divisions so it’s been difficult to predict.
On Friday, White met up with media members for a pre-UFC 286 media scrum (watch HERE) and was asked about Chimaev’s next fight. White couldn’t confirm when that would happen, but he did say it would be contested at 185 pounds. He also said it would come against a top 3 middleweight, which points to Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker, or Jared Cannonier.
“He’ll fight at middleweight, yeah. And yes, he’s in a position where he should be fighting top three guys in the world.”
Chimaev, 28, has been nearly unstoppable inside of the Octagon over the past three years. The top-flight contender has produced a 6-0 record with a Fight of the Year performance against Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 nearly one year ago. Whether Chimaev is competing at welterweight or middleweight he should be one victory away from a title shot heading into the second half of 2023.