Khamzat Chimaev is on the verge of making his return to the octagon after a lengthy hiatus. We last saw Chimaev when he pulled off a first-round submission victory over Kevin Holland at UFC 279. Originally scheduled to face former UFC star Nate Diaz, Chimaev’s plans took an unexpected twist when he was matched against Holland. This change came after ‘Borz’ missed the welterweight limit by 7.5 pounds.
While Diaz went on to compete against fellow MMA veteran Tony Ferguson, securing a dominant fourth-round submission win in the final bout of his UFC contract, Chimaev’s weight-related issues became a hot topic in the MMA community.
Speculation has arisen that these struggles might have prompted the UFC to encourage Chimaev to consider the middleweight division for his future bouts.
However, during a recent media session, Chimaev dropped a tantalizing hint that the decision not to cut weight the night before the Nate Diaz bout might not have been entirely his own. This implies possible UFC involvement in orchestrating the weight-related drama, although Chimaev refrained from providing explicit details, leaving an accusation lingering that the UFC could have played a role in this matter.
Speaking to the media ahead of UFC 294, Khamzat Chimaev stated:
“Everyone speaks about [why] I didn’t make weight once in my life, and there were some plans to do that that way. It’s not my plan, but I can’t say everything here.”
This makes more sense when you remember that Dana White kicked everyone out of Chimaev’s lockerroom to have a face to face after UFC 279.
In addition to these revelations, Chimaev has speculated about the motivations behind Kamaru Usman stepping in as a short-notice replacement for the UFC 294 event. Chimaev and Usman are set to clash in this highly anticipated match.
According to Chimaev, Usman’s decision to accept this on short notice is primarily driven by the financial incentives associated with facing him. Chimaev revealed that if Usman had managed to reclaim the welterweight title from Leon Edwards, he would have contemplated moving down to the welterweight division. However, Usman’s unsuccessful attempt at regaining the belt has rendered him a less prominent name in the division.
While Chimaev anticipates a competitive showdown against Usman, he has subtly indicated that financial rewards play a pivotal role in fighters’ decisions. Money, Chimaev suggests, can often overshadow the allure of championships and legacies in the sport.
Chimaev emphasized this notion:
“The guy comes just to make money. It’s a lot of money put on that. I think he gets a lot of good money when somebody fights me. It’s different-level money. That’s why he’s here. Of course, he comes to win, everyone comes to a fight to win, but he already has an excuse, and he’s getting paid, so I think that’s why he comes.”
“Everyone here, a lot of guys talk about ‘My history, this belt, this s***,’ when somebody puts the money out, millions… One day everyone will forget about that, but the guy [will] have his money for his family. That’s why he’s here, I think.”