Khamzat Chimaev is gearing up for his return to the octagon with an exhilarating middleweight clash against Paulo Costa at UFC 294 scheduled for October 21. This much-anticipated showdown is set to take place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Chimaev, however, found himself at the center of significant controversy prior to his UFC 279 main event against Nate Diaz last year. His failure to make weight by a staggering 8.5 pounds and his subsequent conduct attracted criticism. This led to a change in opponents, with UFC President Dana White reshuffling the card.
In light of this, Khamzat Chimaev’s bout was demoted to a co-main event slot, pitting him against Kevin Holland. Post the card, there were talks of Chimaev transitioning to the middleweight division (185 lbs).
Interestingly, Chimaev recently revealed a surprising interaction with Dana White regarding the Nate Diaz cancellation. According to a recent interview, Chimaev shared:
“Dana White told me he was happy I didn’t fight Nate Diaz. And it’d be a bad look for the organization [UFC]. He said Nate got old and was not the fighter he used to be.”
Chimaev’s long-awaited return to the Octagon is set for UFC 294, marking the end of a frustrating period of inactivity. His clash with Paulo Costa in Abu Dhabi on October 21 is expected to be a chaotic spectacle.
Given the history of both fighters in creating havoc inside the Octagon and the inherent entertainment and controversy they bring to fight week, this showdown promises to be unforgettable.
Recent photos shared by Chimaev on his Twitter have fueled rumors that he has outgrown the welterweight division. With his fluctuation between the welterweight and middleweight categories, “Borz” seems poised for a more substantial presence in the heavier division.
Chimaev’s return to the middleweight division after a three-year hiatus is notable. While his flexibility to compete across two weight classes was an early point of interest for the UFC, it has been a while since he last demonstrated this versatility.
Beyond his impromptu catchweight bout against Kevin Holland at UFC 279 last year, Chimaev has ascended the welterweight rankings with victories against Li Jingliang and Gilbert Burns.
Facing Costa, Chimaev will compete at 185 pounds for the first time since his impressive 17-second knockout of Gerald Meerschaert in September 2020, during his third UFC outing.
As Chimaev takes the middleweight stage once again, his transformed physique raises questions about a potential return to welterweight in the future. The MMA world eagerly awaits his performance at UFC 294 and the direction his career will take thereafter.