UFC sensation Khamzat Chimaev has found himself in the spotlight for more than just his remarkable Octagon prowess. Recent reports suggest that he’s been prohibited from sparring with Sean Strickland at the prestigious Xtreme Couture gym, fueling speculation that a showdown between the two may be on the horizon.
Chimaev, after an almost year-long hiatus, made a triumphant return to the UFC. Initially slated to face Paulo Costa, Chimaev’s bout took an unexpected turn when Costa withdrew and was replaced by former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. This shift propelled Chimaev into the middleweight division rankings, setting the stage for a highly anticipated duel.
The clash unfolded as the co-main event at UFC 294, an electrifying spectacle held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on October 21. Over three intense rounds, both warriors poured their hearts into the contest. While the battle remained fiercely competitive throughout, Chimaev emerged victorious with a majority decision.
While some argue that Chimaev should secure a win against a top middleweight contender before challenging for the title, many firmly believe his next bout could very well be a championship showdown.
In the aftermath of his triumph, Chimaev has not been shy about expressing his desire to face champion Sean Strickland. The two have engaged in spirited banter on social media, with Chimaev confidently asserting his ability to swiftly dispatch Strickland, stating, “Don’t worry, you know how fast I can finish you.”
The potential matchup between Strickland and Chimaev has ignited fervent discussion within the MMA community. Even former UFC middleweight Sam Alvey, in a recent statement, disclosed that Chimaev is no longer permitted to spar with Strickland, based on information from his management.
It’s worth noting that Chimaev and Strickland have sparred previously, with Chimaev making appearances at the Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas, Strickland’s training ground. Strickland, known for his spirited approach to sparring, has, at times, taken things to the extreme during training sessions. Chimaev, too, has shown a penchant for pushing the limits, sometimes inadvertently injuring his training partners.
Following their sparring sessions, Strickland advised Chimaev to temper his approach in training, urging him to avoid causing harm—an ironic twist in their ongoing story.
The dynamic between Chimaev and Strickland has piqued the interest of fans and insiders alike, setting the stage for a potential showdown that could leave a lasting mark on the MMA world.