Since he failed to make weight for his last fight there’s been talk that Khamzat Chimaev could now be set to move up to middleweight, but one of his coaches has now suggested that he may be looking to stick around at welterweight after all.
“The 170 division is a bit stuck because there will be a rematch [between Leon Edwards and Leon Edwards],” Chimaev’s BJJ coach Alan Nascimento told MMA Fighting. “Chimaev’s situation at 170 is, he either waits for the fight or [serves as] a backup fighter in case someone gets injured. But, in case he moves up, a fight with a top-5 guy would definitely be interesting.”
“We thought about going up, but we have created a legacy at 170 already. If we go up to 185, everything would have been for nothing, except for the experience. But the focus is on becoming champion. After he mentioned [going up], we sat down with the whole team and decided to wait for the [welterweight division] to settle so at least we have a title fight.
“If he wins, perfect, we go for the next one. If he loses, we’d go up.”
In the end the decision could still lie with the UFC brass, and Dana White had initially suggested that Chimaev would compete at 185lbs in his next fight after missing weight so badly at UFC 279, but he seems to have backed down from that since.
“I’m in the, ‘What does he want to do?’ Where does he want to be, and what does he want to do? Does he want to make 170 and go for the title at 170, or does he want to go to 185 and go for the title there?” White said recently.