Khamzat Chimaev’s Next Fight: When and who is “Borz” fighting next?
Khamzat Chimaev’s rise in the UFC has been meteoric, to say the least. This Chechen-Swede’s arrival on the scene has been destructive, dramatic, and completely unforgettable.
The unbeaten sensation, known for his dominating performances, has left fans worldwide wondering: “When will Khamzat Chimaev fight next?” and more importantly, “Who will Khamzat Chimaev fight next?”
With speculation swirling about the prospect of “Borz” facing former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, this article dives deep into what we might expect from Khamzat Chimaev’s next fight.
Chimaev’s Journey So Far
Tracing Khamzat Chimaev’s journey from Chechnya to UFC stardom is nothing short of a thrilling rollercoaster ride. At the tender age of five, he took his first steps into training, which later paved the way for six freestyle wrestling world championships under the Swedish Wrestling Federation. The move to Sweden at 18 years old, following his brother Artur, led Chimaev to the renowned BK Athen, a wrestling dojo where he bagged his wrestling titles from 2015 to 2017.
Although wrestling was his first love, Chimaev was no stranger to other forms of combat sports, like judo and combat sambo. It wasn’t long before he found himself training with some of the greatest names in MMA at the AllStar Training Center in Stockholm, including Alexander Gustafsson, a three-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger.
Despite the dabbling, Chimaev has been an absolute force in his professional career. He made his debut in the UFC as a middleweight but made a quick shift to welterweight, where he surged to become a top-five contender — showcasing adaptability between UFC weight classes. However, it’s questionable whether Chimaev will return to welterweight after he came in at 7.5 pounds over the 171-pound welterweight limit before his scheduled fight with Nate Diaz at UFC 279.
He’s now undefeated with a 12-0 record, and his potential as a title threat to UFC champions between 170 and 185 pounds is unquestionable.
Who will Khamzat Chimaev fight next? Here are the latest rumors and expectations regarding Chimaev’s return to the octagon.
First up on the roster of potential opponents for Khamzat Chimaev is none other than former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Usman has shown interest in the idea of a showdown with Chimaev, despite having lost his 170-pound championship to Leon Edwards.
“A fight with myself and Khamzat? Boom,” Usman told ESPN. “I’m kind of in a place now where I’m having fun with it, and what’s the biggest, funnest, most intense fight that really makes me feel something? That’s a fight right there. That could headline a pay-per-view.”
While Usman has other potential contenders in his sight, including Stephen Thompson and even Conor McGregor, he’s candidly admitted that a matchup with Chimaev tops his list. However, his primary objective remains to reclaim his welterweight championship, and he’s keen on a rematch with Edwards to achieve that goal.
Yet, the question of whether Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kamaru Usman will happen remains open. For one, Chimaev’s weight class for his next fight is currently under question. He last fought at middleweight, and after failing to make weight for a welterweight bout against Nate Diaz, it’s unclear if he’ll try to return to 170 pounds.
But interestingly, Usman has expressed his willingness to face Chimaev not only at the welterweight limit but potentially at the middleweight limit as well.
“He’s a fighter and I’m a fighter at the end of the day,” Usman told ESPN. “I fight these guys heart, not their weight. I’ve been able to deal with middleweights and light heavyweights in the gym. And if he wants a shot at the welterweight strap, you kind of have to give a little bit and show I can get down there and do it. But if it’s up a weight, potentially.”
Adding to the likelihood that Chimaev’s next opponent will be Usman is that all seven of the top-ranked middleweight fighters already have fights booked.
- #3 Marvin Vettori vs. #4 Jared Cannonier (UFC on ESPN 46 – June 17)
- #7 Sean Strickland vs. Abusupiyan Magomedov (UFC Fight Night 225 – July 1)
- #2 Robert Whittaker vs. #6 Dricus du Plessis (UFC 290 – July 8)
- #5 Paulo Costa vs. Ikram Aliskerov (UFC 291 – July 29)
Alex Pereira, the #1 ranked middleweight fighter, is also scheduled to fight Jan Blachowicz in the light heavyweight division at UFC 291 on July 29.
However, one of these opponents has long been rumored to be Chimaev’s next opponent…
Many fans expected that Khamzat Chimaev’s next fight would be against Paulo Costa.
In April, Chael Sonnen told The MMA Hour, “my understanding is Khamzat is going to fight Paulo Costa.”
“They’ve even got a date. They’re gonna go out [to] Abu Dhabi, that’s a co-main event — very relevant, they’ll be there for three rounds instead of five — Islam [Makhachev] on the top of the bill. Now the relevance to Islam on the top of the bill is Islam’s gonna fight the winner of Charles [Oliveira] and Benny [Dariush], and that’s still three weeks away. So that means the card that I’m referencing out in Abu Dhabi and the placement of co-main event, we’re four, five months away in a best-case scenario. So it looks like we’re gonna keep those two on ice.” (quotes sourced from MMA News).
However, the news that Costa is scheduled to face Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291 in July leaves the door wide open for a Chimaev vs. Usman showdown, unless Costa pulls off a quick turnaround and fights Chimaev later in 2023.
Khamzat Chimaev’s Next Fight
Although an opponent hasn’t yet been announced for Khamzat Chimaev, a date is all but locked in.
On May 17, Chimaev posted a video to his Twitter account in which he invited controversial figure Andrew Tate to watch him fight at UFC 294. Tate, a former kickboxer, is currently under house arrest, facing a multitude of charges, all of which he denies.
Though not yet set in stone, the Chimaev vs. Usman matchup seems most likely given the current circumstances. The waters were muddied when Paulo Costa, another potential opponent, was scheduled to fight another opponent in July.
Whomever he faces, be it Usman, Costa, or a wildcard contender, one thing is certain: fans around the world are eagerly waiting for Chimaev’s next fight.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is Khamzat Chimaev’s next fight?
While it is not yet officially announced, Khamzat Chimaev is expected to return to the UFC octagon late in 2023, possibly at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi.
Who is Khamzat Chimaev fighting next?
The UFC has not officially announced Khamzat Chimaev’s next opponent yet. However, it’s likely to be Kamaru Usman or a top-ranked contender in the middleweight division.
Who did Khamzat Chimaev fight last?
Khamzat Chimaev’s last fight was against Kevin Holland, which ended in a swift first-round d’arce choke submission win for Chimaev.
How many fights has Khamzat Chimaev won?
As of now, Khamzat Chimaev has won all of his 12 fights, showing an exceptional track record.
What weight class will Khamzat Chimaev’s next fight be in?
Chimaev has fought in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions. However, all signs indicate that his future fights will be primarily in the middleweight division.