Young Lion Could Cash Title Shot at 185-Pounds With Move After UFC 279

Khamzat Chimaev, UFC 279

Getty Khamzat Chimaev prepares for his welterweight fight against Gilbert Burns.

UFC‘s young lion, Khamzat Chimaev, might cash in a title shot at middleweight after UFC 279.

Chimaev is set to face Nate Diaz this Saturday, Sep. 10, in the main event of UFC 279 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Coming off his toughest outing to date against former title challenger Gilbert Burns in April, Chimaev goes into the bout undefeated as a pro, having secured ten finishes in his 11 victories.

Meanwhile, Diaz will be looking to complete the last fight on his current agreement with the promotion. He has expressed his desire to explore free agency, and after a bitter public feud with the UFC, it could likely be Diaz’s last showing under the banner.

Company president Dana White had indicated that the winner of the upcoming welterweight clash would be the number one contender. However, that seems to have got pushed away for a trilogy match between Kamaru Usman and the division champion Leon Edwards.

Ahead of UFC 279, Chimaev shared his plan ahead, given he dispatches Diaz first. He could potentially move up a weight class to challenge the 185-pound champion after Israel Adesanya’s bout with Alex Pereira at UFC 281.

“If they want to do it, for me no problem,” Chimaev told ESPN. “I’m gonna take some other fight, and we will see what’s happening. Maybe Israel Adesanya or the other guy, Pereira. Who wins that, maybe fight with them. I don’t know. I’ll wait for Dana to see what’s happening after the fight. He said after the last fight, maybe we would fight for the title but it didn’t happen.”


Chimaev Does Not Think Usman Will Be the Same After UFC 278 KO Loss

Usman, the longtime dominant champion, looked set to add another record to his glittering resume when Edwards blasted him with a slick kick to the head with just 56 seconds left in the fight. Edwards dethroned Usman in one of the most shocking upsets and became only the second-ever British UFC title holder.

“Borz” gave his take on the massive upset. He believes Usman would probably not return back to competition the same man.

“It was a crazy fight, good fight,” Chimaev said (ht MMA Junkie). “I learned a lot of things about that fight. The guy (Usman) was too much high up: ‘I’m gonna fight with Canelo,’ and he got shot. He wasn’t being focused.”

He continued, “I don’t think he’ll be the same guy again in the mind. We’ve seen a lot of champions thinking no one can beat (them), because he defend so many times, now (he’s) unbeatable, that kind of thing, and bam, somebody knock you out. Now you know you’re human, as well.”


Chimaev Is Interested in Fighting Usman

Following a hard-earned victory over Burns, Chimaev rallied for a shot at the gold against Usman, who was also the pound-for-pound king at the time. Even if Usman does not reclaim his title in the rubber match, Chimaev would be interested in competing against him and backs his chances over “The Nigerian Nightmare.”

“If it will happen, it will be a big fight,” Chimaev said. “Everyone want to see that fight, because he’s almost the same kind of fighter like me. Good wrestling, good boxing, but his grappling is terrible. Leon Edwards took him down, take his back. If I take his back, I squeeze off his head. Everyone wants to see that fight.”

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