Khamzat Chimaev Accused of Turning Down Major UFC Fight in January

Khamzat Chimaev

Getty Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev turned down an opportunity to fight the 185-pound champion at UFC 283 on January 21 in Brazil, according to the division’s new king, Alex Pereira.

After Pereira won the title by taking out Israel Adesanya via fifth-round TKO at UFC 281 earlier this month, Chimaev was quick to call out the Brazilian. And specifically, “Borz” tweeted: “Ready to fight in Brazil @AlexPereiraUFC let’s go champ,” signifying that he’d sign on to battle Pereira for the middleweight strap during the upcoming pay-per-view event

However, when Poatan spoke with Ariel Helwani on MMA Fighting’sThe MMA Hour,” Pereira stated that Chimaev was offered the fight in Rio de Janeiro and subsequently turned it down. Poatan also said that the fight would have been at light heavyweight, one division heavier than the weight class he rules.

“[I] went to [my] manager and said, ‘Look, I just did a hard weight cut, I can’t make [185] for this right now, but tell the UFC I’ll challenge him to fight me at 205 at [UFC 283] in Rio.’ Chimaev didn’t want it,” Pereira said.

“He’s a big guy, [I’m] a big guy, let’s do it at light heavyweight so we don’t have to worry about a weight cut. We offered 205 for Rio.”

Chimaev Denied Pereira’s Claim Right After the Interview

Chimaev responded to Pereira’s claim via social media after Monday’s show. “Wtf,” Chimaev wrote in the comment section of MMA Fighting’s Instagram post. “I asked them about this fight in Brazil, fake belt fake Coach fake fighter.”

MMA Fighting reported that they also spoke with a source “close” to Chimaev who said Pereira’s story was “inaccurate.”

Although Borz is currently ranked No. 3 at welterweight per the official UFC standings, he also has experience fighting inside the Octagon as a middleweight. The Russian-born fighter has stated on several occasions that he fully intends to become a champion in both the 185 and 170-pound divisions.

He last competed in September at UFC 279 when he fought and defeated Kevin Holland in a 180-pound catchweight affair. Chimaev was originally supposed to fight Nate Diaz at welterweight, however Borz missed weight by seven-and-a-half pounds.

Pereira Said Chimaev Only ‘Goes After What Is Impossible’

During the interview, Pereira said that Chimaev only calls him out when he knows that Poatan won’t accept the fight because he either has another fight in mind or is recovering from a hard-fought war.

“Everybody that watched my fight saw that it was a hard fight, they know that he got hurt, needed to recover, so it’s impossible,” Pereira said. “He just goes after what is impossible.

“When I fought Strickland, it was a done deal I’d be fighting for the title next, so Chimaev wanted to jump on the hype train again, ‘I’ll fight you,’ and again, he knew it wasn’t going to happen because he was booked for a title fight so he chose to do that to promote himself.”

Poatan became the promotion’s newest champion in only his fourth-ever Octagon appearance. The former two-division Glory kickboxing champion now boasts three victories over Adesanya, the man who ruled middleweight for years.

Besides their mixed martial arts match, Pereira defeated Adesanya in kickboxing twice — before either of them had fought in the UFC.

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