Khamzat Chimaev is hinting at a move from welterweight to middleweight.
The undefeated UFC upstart has competed at 170 and 185 pounds since his arrival in the promotion a few years ago, but his time in the former weight class may come to an end after a snafu on the scales ahead of UFC 279 earlier this month. Weighing in at 178.5 pounds, ‘Borz’ was removed from his welterweight fight against Nate Diaz, but remained on the card and fought Kevin Holland instead. Chimaev subsequently steamrolled the ‘Trailblazer’ for a first-round submission.
Impressive performance aside, there was concern over whether Chimaev should continue cutting down to welterweight. Reports of vomiting and fainting during this recent cut only exacerbated those concerns, with his head coach Andreas Micheal and UFC president Dana White suggesting the Allstar Training Center product fight at middleweight next. And it appears Chimaev has decided to do exactly that.
Chimaev shared a photo of himself on Twitter with the caption ‘185,’ indicating a return to the division he began his UFC tenure in.
With the potential move, the conversation now shifts to who Chimaev should share the Octagon with, and there are several options for him to consider. The first is Paulo Costa, who Chimaev has had a now-viral run-in with at UFC Performance Institute. ‘Borrachinha’ went on to claim responsibility for Chimaev’s weight miss and challenged him to a fight in the near future.
“Chimaev, you need to do something, motherf—r,” said Costa on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “I stole everything that you had. Everything that you had. Your hat, I stole your night’s sleep. I stole your weigh-in. I stole everything. You are disturbed, so crazy. ‘Oh, I cannot do this, I will die.’ So, I think I need to fight that guy.”
The second is the winner of Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira. That’s a bout Chimaev set his sights on once Kamaru Usman was dethroned by Leon Edwards at UFC 278 this past August. The 28-year-old told Brett Okamoto of ESPN he was interested in either Adesanya or Pereira if the UFC opts to schedule the trilogy between Usman and Edwards. And with all signs pointed in that direction, Chimaev seems keen on jumping the line and vying for gold in the meantime.
Chimaev is 2-0 at middleweight, finishing John Phillips and Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Fight Island 1 and UFC Vegas 11, respectively.