The rising prospect took on Kevin Holland in his last outing at UFC 279 earlier this month. ‘Borz’ earned another dominant first-round finish without taking a single significant strike. He was originally lined up against fan favorite Nate Diaz to headline the card but needed to change opponents on a day’s notice after coming in seven and a half pounds over the agreed nontitle bout weight limit.
Following the win, there were concerns about Chimaev’s future in the division, where he’s currently the third-ranked contender and likely nearing a title shot. UFC president Dana White stated that Chimaev should compete at middleweight in the post-fight press conference for the event but did not give any concrete statements.
‘Borz’ hinted at a move up to 185 pounds, as well in a cryptic message. It appears he has no plans to move on from the welterweight division as he issued a call out to former interim champion Covington on his Twitter account.
“Colby Covington next,” he wrote.
White Wants Chimaev To Decide His Future
There was speculation the UFC might not book Chimaev in a 170-pound bout again due to the weight miss. White shared what happened in the matchmaking meet regarding Chimaev and his future in the promotion.
“There’s obviously 170 and 185 pounds,” White said via MMA Junkie. “There was a big beef today at matchmaking whether he could make 170 pounds, whether we should even let him make 170 pounds again. Those are all the things that we’re kicking around right now.”
White wants Chimaev to decide for himself.
“I’m in the middle,” White said. “I’m in the, ‘What does he want to do?’ Where does he want to be, and what does he want to do? Does he want to make 170 and go for the title at 170, or does he want to go to 185 and go for the title there? …
“That was the big debate we had today in the matchmaking meeting. One guy said one thing, one guy said another thing. And then I said, ‘What does he really want?’ Somebody get in there and figure out what he really wants to do, and let’s figure it out, and let’s make a fight.”
Sean O’Malley Is Not Sure if Chimaev Can Make 170 Pounds
Top-ranked bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley weighed in on the situation, casting doubt over Chimaev’s chances of making 170 pounds.
“I’ve never in my five-six years in the UFC had a doctor come and check on me during weight cuts,” O’Malley said via MMA Fighting. “I’m sure if they come look at me the last pound when I’m in the bathtub, they’d probably say to anybody, ‘Whoa.’ Like, a doctor comes in, they’re not used to seeing humans like that.”
“I want to see him at 185 because even when he fought Gilbert Burns, he did the towel thing, lost five pounds,” O’Malley said. “When was the last time Khamzat made 170 actually? Not the last two fights so it’s probably been over a year.
“I want to watch his next fight, I’m so curious who it’s gonna be. It can’t be Colby [Covington]. He’s not gonna make 170, dude. I just don’t see him — I don’t even know if UFC will book him at 170. But it doesn’t seem like he wants to go up to 185. Which is kind of surprising because he is big and he is super f****** skilled. And he’s gotta be confident. I don’t know if he wants those fights up there. Those are big boys.”