Khamzat Chimaev could potentially be the next middleweight title challenger after his win over Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 this past weekend, but current champion Sean Strickland doesn’t believe he’s earned the right to fight for the belt yet.
“The only thing I like about Chimaev is that he sells fights,” Strickland said on the UFC Fight Pass show ‘Extra Rounds’. “For some reason, people f—king like him or don’t like him. I don’t know. To me, he’s a f—king paycheck. He sells a lot of fights. People pay to watch, but he f—king hasn’t earned it.
“He doesn’t f—-ing deserve it, but here we are. Give it to him. He sells a lot of fights. I’ll go fight the f—ing man for five rounds. But no, he’s not earned it. He doesn’t f—king deserve it. Getting a decision with a welterweight off the couch is not f—ing earning it.”
One man who might be inclined to agree with that is Dricus du Plessis who had been set to fight Israel Adesanya for the belt at UFC 293, only to then withdraw due to an injury, which paved the way for Strickland to take his place and shock the world by winning the title.
However, prior to UFC 294, Dana White had indicated that Chimaev vs. Usman was a title eliminator, which seems to suggest that the UFC might not have pushed du Plessis back in the pecking order.
That might not be the end of the story though as Chimaev indicated post-fight that he may have broken his hand or wrist during his fight with Usman, and how long that takes to heal could affect the UFC’s plans.