Khamzat Chimaev is sure he’s next in line for a title shot against Driscus Du Plessis. According to “Borz” his fight with the newly crowned 185lbs kingpin is the only matchup that makes sense and UFC head honcho, Dana White, knows that.
This past Saturday at UFC 297 Sean Strickland had his first UFC middleweight title defense against Driscus Du Plessis. After twenty-five minutes of action, the South African fighter was declared a new champion. However, it was a close call as the winner was split decision.
During his recent interview with ESPN, Chimaev expressed his dissatisfaction with the UFC 297 bout, comparing it to an intense sparring session. “Borz” stated, that despite it being a solid fight, none of the combatants was truly trying to finish each other, thus labelling it as “nothing special.” Chimaev, who sports an unblemished 13 – 0 MMA record, sees himself as the next challenger to the welterweight gold. Especially taking the current state of the middleweight division into consideration:
“I don’t know. Who else is going to fight him? Israel is out, I don’t know when he’s coming back. What is it, 2027 or something? All of these guys fought each other. It’s only me who is undefeated and undisputed, thirteen and 0, so I don’t know. They promised me after the Usman fight, you will for sure fight for the title, and I win that fight. I don’t know what’s going on. I heard Dana White said that, ‘I don’t think Khamzat is next for the title,’ that’s the bulls***, man.“
Chimaev made it clear that to him this is a matter of principles, as he always kept his word, and expected the same from others:
“If you promised me something, you have to answer for your words, and I’m the guy who always answers for my words. I don’t care if it’s some president, or somebody like a king, if you give me word, you have to answer for that.”
Chimaev has his sights set not only on Driscus Du Plessis but also on the upcoming UFC 300 fight card. “Borz” stated that he would be surprised if somebody else challenged DDP for his title and that he asked the promotion to let him fight at the Aprli super event. The last time he asked was just before the UFC 297. However, the promotion had its concerns about his health:
“I will be surprised if that happens, if somebody fights next, and not me. We’ll see, I didn’t talk with Dana, and I don’t know what he’s thinking. He knows better than me… In my mind, it should be me. I asked Hunter to let me fight at UFC 300, so we’ll see what they say… I asked him before that fight. I was sick before, and they were asking me during that time and I said my manager to let me be healthy first. When I felt my health was good, and I was in the gym training, it was the right time. So I will be ready if they give me the fight.”
Chimaev’s health issue occurred right after his decision win over Kamaru Usman at UFC 294. ‘Borz’ not only suffered a hand injury during the fight but also struggled with his health since the bout. This likely led the UFC to sideline him when it came to shaping up the UFC 300 fight card.