Andreas Michael, head coach of Khamzat Chimaev, wants to see his fighter compete for the 185-pound title in his next outing.
Chimaev began lobbying hard for a shot at the newly crowned middleweight champion, Alex Pereira, the moment he delivered the knockout blow against former titleholder Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 in November. Shortly after Pereira’s rise to the top, Chimaev revealed on Twitter that he had accepted a fight with the new 185-pound king for UFC 282, just a few weeks later.
Many dismissed it considering the incredibly short-notice nature of the bout, particularly for Pereira who makes a significant weight cut to reach the 185-pound limit. As it turns out, the UFC was looking to put the fight together. Pereira reportedly accepted the bout at light heavyweight instead of middleweight which was then turned down by Khamzat Chimaev. Though the bout never came to fruition, Chimaev and his coach are not giving up on the matchup. In a video uploaded to Khamzat Chimaev’s YouTube channel, Michael revealed that a middleweight title fight is still at the top of their 2023 wishlist.
“Middleweight. Middleweight for the belt,” Michael said. “I would like that. That’s an amazing fight, but we can fight at 77. There’s no problem. There’s no problem at all. There’s no problem at all. It’s just good preparation. Good warning for if we’re gonna go drop a lot down in weight, then we need time and it’s done. Not these five weeks or four weeks preparation thing because it’s not doable in that time.”
Chimaev didn't mince words when discussing his fight plans 👀
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 26, 2022
Coach Michael Insists Khamzat Chimaev Has ‘No Problem’ Making Weight
Chimaev currently competes at the welterweight limit of 170 pounds, though many questioned whether or not he could continue to make the significant weight cut after stepping on the scale eight pounds overweight for his scheduled main event with Nate Diaz ahead of UFC 279. UFC president Dana White revealed that he is willing to give Chimaev one more go at welterweight before forcing a permanent move to 185.
“Right now, he’s at 89 kilos (196 pounds), so he can make weight tomorrow,” Michael said. “So it’s no problem at 84 kilos (185) even if everyone thinks that he’s 140 kilos.”