Dana White revealed that Khamzat Chimaev will fight at middleweight upon his return to the Octagon.
Khamzat Chimaev quickly rose through the rankings of the promotion’s 170-pound division, scoring four straight finishes in the UFC before earning the biggest win of his career against one-time UFC title challenger Gilbert Burns at UFC 273. It appeared that ‘Borz’ was on his way to a welterweight title opportunity, but a weigh-in snafu at UFC 279 quickly changed that.
Scheduled for a main event clash with Nate Diaz, Khamzat Chimaev stepped onto the scale eight pounds over the limit for their welterweight contest. As a result, the promotion was forced to scramble at the last minute, shuffling around the card in order to save an event that was already being criticized for its underwhelming lineup. With Chimaev’s continuous struggle to make the 170-pound limit, speculation immediately began as to what division the Chechen monster would fight in going forward.
Speaking to the media ahead of UFC 286 on Saturday, Dana White was asked which division Chimaev will compete in for his return later this year.
“Yeah, he’ll fight at middleweight,” White confirmed. “He’s in a position where he should be fighting the top three guys in the world.”
Khamzat Chimaev’s Next Opponent Could Be Robert Whittaker or Winner of Pereira vs. Adesanya II
Currently, the top contenders in the middleweight division include former champion Israel Adesanya, former titleholder Robert Whittaker, and No. 3 ranked Jared Cannonier. Sitting on the 185-pound throne at the moment is Alex Pereira following his shocking fifth-round knockout of ‘The Last Stylebender’ at UFC 281.
Pereira and Adesanya will run back their November clash next month with both Khamzat Chimaev and Robert Whittaker in prime position for an opportunity to face the winner. ‘Borz’ has been previously tied to a potential title eliminator with ‘The Reaper’ but no official announcement has been made. Chimaev is currently focused on his religion during Ramadan which runs from March 22 through April 21. Once completed, Chimaev is expected to settle on a date and an opponent for his highly anticipated return.