Khamzat Chimaev’s coach may have accidentally leaked his next opponent

Khamzat Chimaev seems to have mistakenly revealed his next opponent. While Chimaev has been expressing his desire for a catchweight showdown with Kamaru Usman, recent developments suggest a different direction for the undefeated combatant in the middleweight division.

The inadvertent reveal came from Chimaev’s coach Azamat Dugulubgov, who also mentors Jalin Turner. Following Turner’s win over Dan Hooker at UFC 290, Dugulubgov found himself at the airport awaiting his flight.

Faced with a delay, Dugulubgov decided to utilize his time by studying Chimaev’s next potential opponent.

But things took an unexpected turn when Dugulubgov posted a story about his findings, which was subsequently shared by Khamzat Chimaev himself. While Dugulubgov took precautions by blurring out the competitor’s image on his screen, online MMA enthusiasts tirelessly searched for clues and managed to uncover the perfect matching frame.

The obscured figure appears to be none other than middleweight contender Jared Cannonier.

Chimaev had recently hinted at his comeback occurring at UFC 294, with Usman being the presumed opponent. However, Dana White had consistently downplayed the possibility of a catchweight clash between the two.

Jared Cannonier is fresh off his noteworthy decision victory against Marvin Vettori last month. He has only experienced defeat at the hands of reigning champion Israel Adesanya and former champion Robert Whittaker since 2018.

Presently occupying the third spot in the middleweight rankings, Cannonier is getting ready for a second title run.

Considering that this could potentially be Cannonier’s final chance at claiming the belt, it is undoubtedly a formidable challenge for him to face the rising Khamzat Chimaev. While Cannonier recognizes that the match will be a thrilling spectacle, he insists on accepting the matchup only if it guarantees him a shot at the title.

During the media scrum after the match at UFC Vegas 75, the 39-year-old stated:

“I’m trying to get to the title. I’m not just fighting to entertain you people. I know you guys want to see it. I know it’ll be a good fight. If that fight gets me the title shot, yes. I just beat number three, I’m not looking back, I’m looking forward. So, if Dana [White] and Hunter [Campbell] say, ‘[Khamzat’s] between you and the champion, that’s something we can talk about”