Chimaev was expected to weigh 170 (or 171 with the one-pound allowance) for his fight against Nate Diaz. However, ‘Borz’ stepped on the scales at 178.5, seven-and-a-half pounds over the limit. Hours after his weight miss, Chimaev received a new opponent in Kevin Holland, who he fought at a catchweight. He went on to submit the ‘Trailblazer’ by first-round D’arce choke.
Though adamant he can continue competing at 170, Chimaev was urged to consider a move to 185, which Strickland disagrees with. ‘Tarzan’ told Helen Yee the undefeated upstart is better off at welterweight, especially since he is much closer to a championship opportunity in that weight class.
“It’s a hard one,” said Strickland. “If it wasn’t for my accident, I would still be at welterweight and I would probably have way better odds of winning a belt at welterweight. So, it’s one of those weird things where it’s like, would he enjoy life more at middleweight? F—k yeah. I have cheeseburgers. I’m a happy, fat man. Barbecue, man. I’m gonna have a cheeseburger tonight.
“But that being said, at welterweight, life was f—ing miserable,” continued Strickland. “I was f—ing running every night. But he will have a better shot at being a champion at welterweight, I’ll tell you that. But I also understand that that cut is f—ing brutal, and if I didn’t get into a motorcycle accident, I’d probably still be a welterweight.”
If Chimaev returns to welterweight, Strickland wants him to fight someone with a higher ranking. That leaves two options: Colby Covington or Kamaru Usman, and Strickland chooses the former for Chimaev to share the Octagon with next.
“He needs to fight a high-ranked guy,” said Strickland. “I think Covington would be a great fight. He fought Gilbert Burns, but I think Covington should be his next fight and if he wins, he should get a title shot. Hands down. If he beats Covington, title fight.”
A fight between Covington and Chimaev was reportedly being considered by UFC president Dana White, who said with a win over Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 in April, he would ‘love to do Khamzat vs. Colby’ at UFC on ABC 3 in July.
Of course, Chimaev defeated Burns in a ‘Fight of the Year’ contender, but his next fight was scheduled against Diaz — not Covington. ‘Chaos’ has not fought since besting Jorge Masvidal by unanimous decision at UFC 272.