Exclusive: Chael Sonnen Backs Khamzat Chimaev for 185-lb Title Shot & Believes He Will Fight Edwards Before Usman

"The Bad Guy" believes Chimaev is championship quality and could get a title shot before "The Nigerian Nightmare"

Chael Sonnen, Middle Easy, Khamzat Chimaev
Credit: Middle Easy, Khamzat Chimaev (via YouTube & Instagram)
  • Chael Sonnen backed Khamzat Chimaev to get a title shot at middleweight
  • Sonnen believes Chimaev will likely face Leon Edwards before Kamaru Usman does

Following a historic fight week for UFC 279, there were concerns over Khamzat Chimaev’s future in the division. UFC veteran Chael Sonnen encouraged a move up to middleweight for the rising prospect, who came in a massive seven and a half pounds overweight for his latest scheduled welterweight bout.

Chael Sonnen backs Khamzat Chimaev to get a title shot at 185-pounds

In an interview with James Lynch for Middle Easy, Sonnen shared his thoughts on Chimaev moving up a division. “The Bad Guy” could see Chimaev in the mix of title contention quickly.

“I do think that he can get to a championship very fast at 185-lbs. You can package him up and sell him to the audiences, undefeated guy that has been in the division. Everybody knows who he is. He’s an absolute media sensation. But if you wanted to follow more of a trajectory of the history of the sport, you would have a hard time.”

Sonnen says Chimaev should fight Leon Edwards before Kamaru Usman for the title

Sonnen believes the UFC will hold off on the trilogy bout between the 170-pound champion Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman to insert Chimaev into the picture. According to Sonnen, a fight between Chimaev and Edwards would be the right way forward.

“There’s an idea nobody suggested that they both go up. I see what you’re doing there and I like that a lot. You want a prediction from me? This is out of left field but just for fun. I don’t believe Kamaru Usman is going to be fighting Leon next. I believe that Kamaru’s next fight will be for a belt.

“I think they are going to keep Kamaru on ice. Chimaev vs Leon is a real possibility with the winner drawing in to Kamaru. If you have those three and you’re going to match them up, the order does matter and what I just presented is a more viable order.”

Sonnen’s idea of pitting Chimaev against Edwards for the title has merit behind it but “Borz” would likely need to compete at welterweight one more time to prove that he can make weight before he gets a shot at the gold.

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