Khamzat Chimaev said he would be surprised if he doesn’t get the next middleweight title shot after being promised by the UFC.
At UFC 297, the next chapter of the middleweight division was revealed when Dricus du Plessis dethroned Sean Strickland by split decision. Following the official result announcement, Du Plessis called out Israel Adesanya, but another top-ranked 185-pounder believes he’s next instead.
Number nine-ranked Chimaev recently did an interview with Brett Okamoto of ESPN to talk about various topics. During their conversation, ‘Borz’ provided his reaction to the UFC 297 main event between Strickland and Du Plessis:
“I expect that fight should be like that, so nothing special. I think like 50/50 could go which side. The choice, maybe it’s right, maybe not, I don’t know. For me, Strickland won the fight, but that was close fight for both. Nothing special, nothing making me like this guy is somebody else. They both has a lot of things I can see that I can finish them.”
Khamzat Chimaev made his UFC debut in July 2020 and quickly became a superstar by winning six fights in two years. Since then, he’s overcome several injuries and illnesses before securing his latest win, a majority decision against Kamaru Usman in October 2023.
Watch Chimaev’s interview with Brett Okamoto below:
Khamzat Chimaev reveals the UFC promised him a title shot with win against Kamaru Usman
Khamzat Chimaev was scheduled to fight Paulo Costa at UFC 294 before the latter pulled out, leading to Kamaru Usman stepping in. Although the situation was out of Chimaev’s control, there has been a debate about whether a middleweight win against a welterweight should warrant a title shot.
During the previously mentioned interview with Brett Okamoto, Chimaev revealed that the UFC promised him a title shot if he defeated Usman:
“I don’t know. Who gonna fight them? Israel [Adesanya] is out. I don’t know when he’s coming back. 2027? What did he say, 2027 or something years? All these guys fight each other, only me who undefeated, undisputed, 13-0. I don’t know. They promised me after this fight, after [Kamaru] Usman fight, you are for sure going to fight for the title. I win that fight, and I don’t know what’s going on.”
Chimaev continued by voicing his frustration about potentially not being the next middleweight title challenger:
“I hear Dana White say like, ‘I don’t think Khamzat for next for the title.’ That’s the bullsh*t, man. If you promised me something, you have to answer afterward, so I’m the guy who I always answer for my words. I don’t care if it’s some president or somebody like king. If you give me word, he has to answer for that…Maybe in the USA it’s a different mentality. I don’t know. I would be surprised if that happens, if somebody fights next [for the title that’s] not me…In my mind, it should be me.”
There has been speculation about Dana White and the matchmakers wanting Dricus du Plessis to defend his middleweight title for the first time on April 13 at UFC 300. It’s unclear if Khamzat Chimaev or Israel Adesanya will be offered the opportunity, but both have verbally voiced their interest in taking the fight.