Seeing Khamzat Chimaev fight inside the Octagon is a rare sight. When he burst onto the scene back in 2020 in Abu Dhabi with two fights in the span of 10 days, many thought we’d be getting a fighting machine who we’d see plenty of inside the Octagon.
While he has looked like a terminator inside the cage when he does eventually fight, getting him booked seems to be a problem for matchmakers because he has only competed four times since then.
Khamzat claims many have turned down to fight him and that matchmakers have had trouble locking down opponents. He was set to face Nate Diaz at UFC 279 in Sept. 22 before a scale fail on “Borz’s” behalf nixed the fight and prompted Kevin Holland to step in short notice for a catchweight bout. Chimaev went on to submit “Trailblazer” in the very first round (see it here). That was the last time Chimaev competed, which is puzzling to former UFC champ-champ, Daniel Cormier.
“I don’t understand why Khamzat Chimaev has not fought again since he fought Kevin Holland,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel (via MMA Junkie). “There’s more to this story than we know. Maybe I’ll do some digging to try and uncover it, but he’s fighting against Paulo Costa.”
Indeed, Chimaev will take on Paulo Costa in a Middleweight bout at the upcoming UFC 294 fight card on Oct. 21, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, which will be headlined by a Lightweight championship rematch between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira.
According to “DC,” if Chimaev defeats Costa — and makes him cry — he should be getting the next title fight in the division.
“If he beats Paulo Costa, Khamzat Chimaev will have earned himself a title fight at 185 pounds. And I don’t think anyone can disagree with that. I don’t believe that beating Gilbert Burns, going up, and now beating Paulo Costa doesn’t get you a championship opportunity. It makes you the No. 1 contender between Israel Adesanya and Dricus Du Plessis.”
Division king, Israel Adesanya, was in line to defend his belt against Du Plessis at UFC 293 on Sept. 9 before “Still knocks” was bounced from the title fight with an injury (or a vacation). Sean Strickland is in talks to step in and fill the void, though that has yet to be finalized.
Nevertheless, the stakes are high for Chimaev (12-0) according to Cormier, who could be within arm’s reach of his first-ever UFC title fight. Of course Costa is far from a slouch and is ready to get into the championship picture himself.