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Khamzat Chimaev names one UFC middleweight he doesn’t want to fight

Khamzat Chimaev doesn’t want to fight Robert Whittaker.

Khamzat Chimaev wants to kill everybody, brother. But he’d rather not fight former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker AKA Bobby Knuckles.

Fresh off a first-round submission victory over Kevin Holland at UFC 279, Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) revealed that he’d rather train with Whittaker (24-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) than fight him, crediting ‘The Reaper’ as one of the ‘good guys’ in MMA.

“I like that guy, so I don’t want to fight good guys,” Chimaev said of Whittaker at the UFC 279 post-fight press conference (h/t MMA Junkie). “I need some bad guys, so I want to fight some bad guy, you know? And don’t feel sorry for that.

“I want to train with that guy. He’s really good, like one of the best guys in the world. I was watching his fight. … I’m a big fan, so I watch all things. I watch how he trains, and all these things. A lot of guys want to fight me, so Robert never said something bad about me. There’s a lot of guys talking sh*t about me. I’m gonna go take their heads off, you know? So, we’ll see.”

Khamzat could be headed to middleweight permanently after missing weight against Nate Diaz, with UFC president Dana White saying it ‘makes sense’ for ‘Borz’ to compete at 185 pounds instead of welterweight.

Whittaker, the No. 1-ranked middleweight in the world, is the first name that springs to mind although Paulo Costa might be the better pick following his near-brawl with Khamzat at the UFC Performance Institute last week (see here).

Khamzat is, as of writing, unranked at middleweight but is 2-0 at that weight class with stoppage victories over Gerald Meerschaert and John Phillips.

It should also be noted that Holland, who Khamzat beat at a catchweight of 180 pounds, was ranked #10 at middleweight before dropping back-to-back losses to Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori in 2021.