Jared Cannonier isn’t far from a title shot, but he could be closer.
It’s an interesting time for the UFC middleweight division. Longtime champion Israel Adesanya isn’t on the throne, nor is Sean Strickland, the man who dethroned him. The championship belt now belongs to Dricus Du Plessis, who defeated Strickland by split decision at UFC 297.
As for who’s next for the title shot, Cannonier would like it to be him. There’s an argument to be made for the #4 ranked contender, who is coming off back-to-back wins over Marvin Vettori and former champ Strickland.
All things considered, the UFC will likely go another route with a bigger star in Adesanya fighting DDP next. If that’s the plan, Cannonier reveals who he’d like to fight in a potential title eliminator: Khamzat Chimaev.
“Everybody talking about Khamzat, but he has yet to fight a middleweight,” Cannonier told The Schmo. “That’s my only qualm with it. The guy is a top level fighter. He’s definitely shown that in the UFC. He seems to be eager to fight people. So, if they don’t give me the champ when I come back, I’ll be more than happy to get that fight going again.”
Chimaev moved to a perfect 13-0 after defeating welterweight great Kamaru Usman in October. The highly-touted fighter also holds wins over Kevin Holland, Gilbert Burns and Li Jingliang.
Cannonier originally got the call to fight Chimaev at UFC 294, following Paulo Costa’s withdrawal. Unfortunately for Cannonier, he too suffered an injury that prevented him from stepping up to the plate in October.
While Cannonier desires a second shot at UFC gold, he’ll settle for what he can get, whether it’s Chimaev or another top contender.
“Me versus the best,” Cannonier continued. “And if you don’t wanna give me the best, give me whoever you feel like is next because I wanna fight the champ. The belt’s gonna be mine. It’s coming. It’s gonna happen soon. So, get ready.”
“Last time out, I broke a record. I look way better than I did. Next time out, I’m gonna look miles ahead of that last person. So get ready, UFC. ‘Killa Gorilla’ is gonna make a a crash landing on somebody.”