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Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa rumored to be in the works for UFC 294

UFC 279: Chimaev v Holland Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Khamzat Chimaev is headed back to Middleweight.

Since missing weight by 7.5 pounds for his last time out at UFC 279 in Sept. 2022, Chimaev has indicated he’ll be moving back up in weight. While nothing is official as of yet, UFC President, Dana White, has even stated “Borz” will be departing the Welterweight division where he’s currently ranked at No. 3.

Chimaev’s first opponent atop the 185-pound division is now rumored to be one-time title challenger, Paulo Costa, according to three-time UFC title challenger-turned-media personality, Chael Sonnen. The fight would take place at UFC 294 on Oct. 21, 2023, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates says Sonnen.

“Well, so my understanding is Khamzat is going to fight Paulo Costa,” Sonnen told The MMA Hour (h/t MMA News). “They’ve even got a date. They’re gonna go out [to] Abu Dhabi, that’s a co-main event — very relevant, they’ll be there for three rounds instead of five — Islam [Makhachev] on the top of the bill. Now the relevance to Islam on the top of the bill is Islam’s gonna fight the winner of Charles [Oliveira] and Benny [Dariush], and that’s still three weeks away. So that means the card that I’m referencing out in Abu Dhabi and the placement of co-main event, we’re four, five months away in a best-case scenario. So it looks like we’re gonna keep those two on ice.”

Despite his epic weight miss ahead of his last fight, Chimaev remained as dominant as ever, submitting Kevin Holland with a first-round d’arce choke (watch highlights), absorbing zero strikes. Costa, on the other hand, recently reached a new deal with the promotion after his Feb. 2023 Robert Whittaker match up fell through.

Costa got back in the win column with his last win, defeating Luke Rockhold via a Fight of the Night unanimous decision (watch highlights) at UFC 278 — one month before Chimaev’s Holland win.


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