Coach says Khamzat Chimaev’s next fight is at middleweight: ‘We want the No. 1 contender or the champ’
Andreas Michael confirmed Khamzat Chimaev’s next fight will take place at middleweight.
Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) has competed at both welterweight and middleweight throughout his career, but emerged as a top contender at 170 pounds after he outlasted former title challenger Gilbert Burns at UFC 273.
But “Borz” struggled to make welterweight for his originally scheduled bout against Nate Diaz at UFC 279, which resulted in a catchweight bout against Kevin Holland, whom he submitted in Round 1.
Although Michael is convinced Chimaev still can make welterweight, he says he’s moving up for the next one.
“It’s middleweight,” Michael told Submission Radio. “He’s going to fight at middleweight. But if the title comes at welterweight, miracles can happen – and they will happen. We will get him down, don’t worry.
“He’s getting strong for the new weight class.”
But regardless of the weight mishap, Michael thinks his unbeaten star student has earned the right for either a title eliminator or a direct title shot. The only issue is, Michael says Chimaev is struggling to find a willing dance partner.
“We’re used to getting fights back-to-back,” Michael said. “And a lot of people say they want it, but they don’t want it. Or they price themselves out. Like, ‘I want this and that,’ and then all of a sudden they want a million dollars when their contract is like $50,000 to show/$50,000 to win). So it’s not logical, either. That’s the fight game. Guys are just doing their work, doing what they need to make a living and to make a name of themselves. I never take these things serious. I just want to progress.
Khamzat Chimaev thinks he fights Robert Whittaker next after 'Paulo Costa ran away'
Andreas Michael: Khamzat Chimaev just needs 'good warning' to make welterweight
“People say they want to fight, but they don’t want to fight. People price themselves out. There’s some people that, of course they want to fight, as well, but they don’t make sense. There’s a lot of factors (that go) into things. We’re not just going to fight just for the fight’s sake. Things have to pave the way forward. Of course, there’s a lot of people that want to fight Khamzat. And if he just wanted to, he’d just be like, ‘OK, who’s in the top 20?’
“But I think we’re past that, aren’t we? I think we need to get the top dogs right now, or go for a title fight. The top dogs – like, the No. 1 contender or a title fight. And that’s why there’s not a lot of choices out there at the moment, because our spectrum has closed. It was broad before. Now it’s closed down. We’re honing in. We want the No. 1 contender or the champ – preferably the champ. And I think he’s earned it.”