Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) returned from an over-year long layoff against Kamaru Usman in this past Saturday’s middleweight co-main event at Etihad Arena. After a dominant first round which was scored 10-8 for Chimaev, Usman rallied, but “Borz” was awarded the majority decision win.
UFC CEO White was impressed with Chimaev’s performance, and hopes he can have him turn around relatively soon.
“Khamzat goes in there and he’s fighting the greatest welterweight of all time – a very tough, crafty veteran,” White said. “Khamzat was built here during COVID. I mean, the kid is unbelievably talented. We need to keep him more active. That’s what we need to do.”
Chimaev earned a title shot with his win over Usman. His long layoff was due to travel issues, which forced the Chechen fighter to move to the United Arab Emirates.
Chimaev also said he thinks he broke his right hand in Round 1, which hampered his ability to continue grappling. Depending on the diagnosis of his hand, White is hopeful that there won’t be any hurdles in booking Chimaev’s title shot against UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland.
“Well, there’s been issues in the past,” White said. “Hopefully, there’s not issues now. Hopefully his hand is not broken and hopefully we can do this title fight.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.