Dana White confirms Khamzat Chimaev’s UFC return in middleweight division after failed welterweight clash vs Nate Diaz

Khamzat Chimaev was once amongst the most active fighters in the UFC, as he once famously fought twice in a span of just 10 days. But things seem to have changed a little, the super-active welterweight contender last stepped inside the octagon in September 2022 where he fought a last-minute replacement opponent, Kevin Holland at UFC 279. The catchweight fight seemingly came out of nowhere but still was a testament to the Chechen’s Chimaev finished Holland in under three minutes without breaking a sweat.

Almost seven months later there are no immediate signs of Chimaev entering the octagon but UFC president Dana White has confirmed the next weight class Chimaev will be competing at. In a recent media interaction ahead of UFC 286 White was asked about potential future match-ups for ‘Borz’ to which he responded

“Yeah, he’ll [Khamzat Chimaev] fight at middleweight. And yes, he’s in a position where he should be fighting top 3 guys in the world.”

What weight class could Khmzat Chimaev actually fight in?

Dana White’s statements on Chimaev’s future are a little contradictory to the comments put out by Chimaev before the highly anticipated welterweight title fight between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman at UFC 286.

White’s claims especially come after Chimaev missed weight by a massive margin of 7.5lb in his originally scheduled fight against Nate Diaz last September. That although wasn’t the only time ‘Borz’ struggled to come in at the 170lb limit. Hence his fighting at the 185lb division seems to be the wiser choice.

The Chechen-born Swedish fighter is currently ranked 3 in the welterweight division and until now has a perfect 6-0 record in the UFC, finishing five of them. The only fighter he didn’t finish was former welterweight title challenger and top-five contender Gilbert Burns. 

What are some potential match-ups for Khamzat Chimaev at middleweight?

According to the UFC president, Chimaev is in a position to fight the top three fighters in the middleweight division. So apart from Alex Periera who is the current title holder, the three guys in line for Chimaev could be the former middleweight champ Israel Adesanya and top title contenders Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier.

Chimaev and Adesanaya
Chimaev could potentially be fighting Adesanya if he moves to middleweight permanently

Considering the level of dominance Chimaev has portrayed in his very tender career, it would be very interesting to see how well he will be able to adjust to the drastic increase in power and strength that comes with moving up a weight class.

Aryan Verma

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Aryan Verma is a Combat Sports writer covering UFC and Boxing for SportsZion. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's in technology degree in Computer Science. Being a martial art practitioner himself, Aryan cherishes the opportunity to share his thoughts on latest combat sport events through his blogs.


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