Welterweight star Khamzat Chimaev looks more like a UFC light heavyweight nowadays.
According to the official UFC standings, Chiamaev is ranked No. 3 in the 170-pound division, but the Russian-born fighter hasn’t competed as a proper welterweight since April 2022 when he bested Gilbert Burns at UFC 273. He was scheduled to battle Nate Diaz in September 2022 at UFC 279 as a 170-pounder. However, “Borz” missed weight by nearly eight pounds.
He fought Kevin Holland in a 180-pound catchweight instead, dominating “Trailblazer” via first-round brabo choke. Well, fast forward four months and using the eye test, it doesn’t appear Chimaev is any closer to hitting the 171-pound weight limit.
Take a look at Chimaev flexing in a recent Instagram post:
It’s unclear what division Chimaev plans on fighting in next, whether he decides to cut back down to welterweight or try his hand again at middleweight — or even light heavyweight.
Matt Brown Thinks Belal Muhammad Has What It Takes to Defeat Chimaev
UFC veteran Matt Brown recently spoke to MMA Fighting about his take on No. 4-ranked welterweight Belal Muhammad. And Brown thinks the man ranked right behind Chimaev has what it takes to end the combatant’s 12-0 run.
“Belal and Gilbert [Burns] are very similar body types, the way they throw punches and stuff but Belal keeps a much higher pace and stays a little bit more disciplined in his approach,” Brown said. “I think Belal beats Khamzat and I’m 50-50 on him beating [Kamaru] Usman.
“That’s a really, really close fight that I think goes to a decision and is probably a really tough call for the judges.”
Burns Is Eyeing a Rematch With Chimaev After Dropping a Unanimous Decision to Him Last Year
Burns, the man responsible for giving Borz the hardest test during his UFC tenure thus far, told MMA Junkie recently that should he get past Neil Magny at UFC 283 later this month, there’s a possibility that he could rematch Chimaev.
“Let me just get back to the win column,” Burns said. “Get a finish of Neil Magny and we’re gonna talk about it. Yeah, I think it’s about time. It’s about these guys saying yes. It’s about opportunity, and guess what? I’ll be ready.”
He continued, “I think the rematch with Khamzat is gonna happen. I think the fight with Belal Muhammad is gonna happen. Colby [Covington] is the only one that maybe – I don’t know what Colby is doing. And Masvidal, I’m not really chasing that fight. It was just an opportunity for a big fight, but I’m not chasing it. Yeah, I think those are the next opponents: Belal Muhammad, Khamzat, and then a title shot. That’s what I see.”
But, Burns is more concerned with clocking in three times in 2023.
“In 2023 I envision three fights, three finishes, and not asking, not begging, but earning myself another title shot,” Burns said. “That’s what I see. It doesn’t matter who. The way I see it, me going against three guys, spectacular finishes, earning another title shot. A busy year.”