UFC president Dana White revealed he has the perfect next opponent lined up for rising star Khamzat Chimaev. White told Jim Rome on “The Jim Rome Show” on Friday that the UFC had just reached a deal to pit Chimaev against No. 3-ranked welterweight contender Leon “Rocky” Edwards. The news was later confirmed by ESPN.
According to Ariel Helwani, Chimaev vs. Edwards will be the main event for the UFC Fight Night card scheduled for December 19.
The final UFC fight of the wackiest year will be … Leon Edwards x Khamzat Chimaev. Somehow, this feels perfect for 2020. pic.twitter.com/E50ODaydfL
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 23, 2020
That makes the UFC’s last card of the year a massive spectacle that nobody could have predicted to be on the way.
Chimaev’s Legendary Callouts Paid Off
After some legendary callouts, it appears Chimaev, a 26-year-old Russian who fights out of Sweden, will finally be getting the type of opponent he desires for his next fight.
Chimaev had been calling out the likes of superstars Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz and others but couldn’t get any of them to agree to bouts.
Leon Edwards 🆚 Khamzat Chimaev
Rocky is returning to the rankings and it looks like he's returning to the Octagon on Dec 19 🙌 pic.twitter.com/asxFAyj2zT
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) October 23, 2020
That makes sense, of course, since many of the names Chimaev has called out over recent months have no real incentive to face the new UFC star yet.
But Chimaev was aiming high anyway, and now he’s finally talked himself into a coveted main event contest against one of the best fighters in the world, Edwards.
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Edwards Ranked Near Top of Division
Edwards was already considered one of the top-ranked 170-pounders in the UFC, but the 29-year-old Jamaican-British star hasn’t fought in over a year now.
Edwards won eight straight fights after losing via decision to current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman back in 2015 (in a non-title fight) but recently found himself in danger of losing his high ranking amongst his peers in the division due to inactivity.
That’s when Edwards suddenly decided that facing Chimaev would be his next move, something the fighter announced he would like to do via Twitter on Thursday.
Edwards posted, “I’m still in the rankings. F*** all the inactivity, the only reason I havent fought is because all these so called top guys turned me down. Khamzat want to fight then?”
Chimaev jumped all over that opportunity. The undefeated star posted in response to the challenge, “I’m always ready to fight. Let’s go. Rock’n’roll baby”.
I’m always ready to fight. Let’s go. Rock'n'roll baby 🤪
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) October 22, 2020
Chimaev vs. Edwards Is Dangerous Test For Both Fighters
Now, the two welterweights are set to meet each other in one of the most intriguing battles that could possibly be made in the division.
Edwards has long been one of the top fighters in the sport, and Chimaev has looked so dangerous in his first three fights that many people believe he could legitimately turn into the UFC’s next big thing.
Beating Edwards would go a long way toward proving that’s the case, but it’s certainly no gimme.
Edwards is a legit threat to stop Chimaev’s hype train, but a win by the Russian would send that same machine down the tracks even faster.
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