Khamzat Chimaev is rumored to move to the 185-pound division after his massive welterweight weight miss at UFC 279 threw the event into complete chaos.
Chimaev, who has competed in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions since debuting for the UFC in 2020, may be looking at a permanent move to the 185-pound weight class after his failure to make weight for a UFC 279 main event showdown with Nate Diaz. Chimaev stepped on the scale 7.5 pounds over the contractually obligated limit forcing the UFC to scramble in the midnight hour to salvage the event.
In the end, the UFC was able to mix and match fighters on the main card to bring fans an entertaining night of fights, but the ordeal likely signaled the end of Khamzat Chimaev’s run at 170 pounds.
Now the undefeated Chechnyan wrestler is teasing his move to the middleweight division in a recent post on Twitter. ‘Borz’ shared an image of himself with the numbers “1 8 5” in the caption.
1 8 5 👊🏼💥 pic.twitter.com/urOK6BPayG
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) September 23, 2022
A Move to Middleweight May Give Khamzat Chimaev Clear Path to UFC Title Opportunity
Heading into UFC 279, UFC President Dana White suggested that a win by Chimaev would guarantee him a welterweight title opportunity. Of course, that guarantee was immediately compromised when Leon Edwards landed a jaw-dropping fifth-round head kick knockout of Kamaru Usman the month prior. Talks of a trilogy bout between Edwards and Usman began making headlines, leaving Khamzat Chimaev by the wayside. Chimaev’s massive weight miss the next month only helped to further sabotage his welterweight title aspirations.
Now teasing a move to middleweight, it’s possible that ‘Borz’ could actually find himself fighting for UFC gold much sooner than anticipated. Currently, reigning middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is scheduled to meet former GLORY Kickboxing rival Alex Pereira at UFC 281 in November. If ‘The Last Stylebender’ gets past his latest challenger, he will have effectively cleaned out the division, defeating five of the top six contenders.
Khamzat Chimaev could find himself as the only viable contender for Adesanya to face. Assuming he retains the title against ‘Poatan’ this fall. If Alex Pereira shocks the world and captures the UFC middleweight title, Chimaev could still find himself in line for a shot, but it would certainly complicate things.