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Khamzat Chimaev’s next opponent revealed? Brendan Allen suggests it’s Jared Cannonier

A new name has appeared as a potential opponent for Khamzat Chimaev’s next fight at middleweight: No. 3 ranked Jared Cannonier.

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

Brendan Allen put on an impressive performance at UFC Jacksonville, submitting Bruno Silva with a rear-naked choke to kick off the main card on ABC (watch the finish here). Following the win he called out a laundry list of opponents, including Jared Cannonier.

Cannonier is also looking pretty hot right now after putting on a clinic against Marvin Vettori in the main event of last week’s UFC on ESPN card. The dominating decision win puts him back in the contender’s circle at middleweight, and Allen wants to snatch his spot if he can.

The only problem? Allen’s manager Ali Abdelaziz told him not to bother calling out Cannonier because “The Killa Gorilla” already has his next fight lined up.

“Cannonier, he’s looking for a title eliminator,” Allen said during a post-fight interview with Megan Olivi. “Ali told me not to call him [out] because he probably has a fight, but I already had this memorized so I was like whatever, I just gotta go with it. I did the two things Ali said [not to do] so I’m sorry, Ali, but it was already memorized, so I’m sorry.”

Allen and Olivi shared a knowing laugh when mentioning Cannonier’s next fight, and there were similar suggestive vibes during the UFC Jacksonville post-fight press conference when the topic was brought back up. We wouldn’t call these reports, but there are rumors that Jared Cannonier could be fighting Khamzat Chimaev next.

Asked directly by the press if he’d also heard that Jared vs. Khamzat was next, Allen demurred.

“I plead the fifth,” he said with a smile.

Khamzat Chimaev hasn’t fought since earning a quick win over Kevin Holland in September 2022. He’s expected to return when the UFC goes to Abu Dhabi in October. Originally there was talk of him facing Paulo Costa, but that all may have changed after Costa was booked to fight Ikram Aliskerov at the end of July. Cannonier may not be as exciting of a potential opponent as Costa, but he would still push Chimaev into immediate title contention at 185 pounds.

We’ll still have to wait to see what the UFC officially announces for “Borz” and “The Killa Gorilla,” but there’s now some serious smoke circulating on their plans for Khamzat Chimaev this fall.

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