Following his failure to make weight for his UFC 279 main event, Khamzat Chimaev appears to be headed to the middleweight division, and former UFC title challenger Paulo Costa may be the man to welcome him to 185 pounds.
The undefeated Chechnyan was originally scheduled to face Nate Diaz in the main event until he stepped on the scale 7.5 pounds over the welterweight limit. After some reshuffling of the card, Chimaev ended up facing Kevin Holland in the evening’s main event and earned his sixth straight win inside the Octagon. Now it appears ‘Borz’ is ready to make the jump to middleweight and it is heavily rumored that he will face Paulo Costa before the year is out.
Giving his thoughts on the potential middleweight clash is former two-division UFC champion, Henry Cejudo. In a video posted on his YouTube channel. ‘Triple C’ gave his breakdown of the rumored 185-pound clash.
“Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa. Let me tell you guys, I love this fight. There’s a storyline in this fight where I think it’s gonna be exactly fireworks just like how it was when they had that flurry a couple weeks ago at the UFC P.I.”
Prior to UFC 279, video footage circulated of Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa getting into a near brawl at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
Henry Cejudo Backs Paulo Costa in a Middleweight Showdown With Khamzat Chimaev
“The biggest deal with Khamzat Chimaev is that he’s always covering distance. That’s the first thing he’ll do. And guys, Khamzat Chimaev is not covering distance your traditional style, staggered. This man will literally run, catch that right position, flare the jab to eventually take his opponent down. Whether he’s looking for arm triangle, whether he’s looking for anacondas or whatever that may be. Or if he has to take his back, he has that Khabib Nurmagomedov top control that makes him extremely extremely dangerous. With that being said, we’re talking about the welterweights. Going up to middleweight is something completely different.
“Now let’s talk about Paulo Costa. Paulo Costa has fought guys like Yoel Romero, Olympic silver medalist. Being able to defend his takedown. And he’s got heat and power in his hands. You know, this guy has more championship experience than what he feels Khamzat Chimaev has so it’s an interesting fight because he’s going up a weight. Khamzat Chimaev is not gonna have that advantage like he once did with just wrestling people. You’re gonna have to be a little more diverse.”
In the end, Cejudo believes it will come down to the wrestling, namely Paulo Costa’s ability to stop the takedown attempts of Khamzat Chimaev.
“I personally think that’s a tough fight for Khamzat. I really do and I’m not just saying that because Paulo is a good friend of mine. Paulo has gone against world-class Russians and has won. Has defended them, like he wasn’t taken down by Yoel Romero. Yoel Romero’s got inside trips. Yoel Romero’s got double legs. He’s got all that under the sun – there’s a big difference of levels of wrestling when it comes to Khamzat and Yoel Romero. Proof is in the pudding.
“He’s [Costa] always looking for that left body shot. He’s gonna welt you over. He’s gonna will you over and I think that’s what makes Paulo Costa extremely dangerous. I want to see Paulo Costa vs. Khamzat Chimaev because this fight’s going to be fireworks. The storyline is already there guys. Now, who is it that’s gonna go out there and actually get the victory? If you’re asking me, I’m going with Paulo Costa. Why? Because I think the wrestling is going to be neutralized and I do believe he’s a little more experienced in the UFC than Khamzat Chimaev.”