LAS VEGAS – Khamzat Chimaev may promise to “smash everybody,” but there is at least one UFC peer he has a lot of respect for, and does not wish to face in the octagon.
Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) dominated at UFC 279, making quick work of Kevin Holland in the co-main event of the pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena. Although he took care of business in the cage, Chimaev did not on the scale, missing weight by 7.5 pounds on Friday. His miss led to a shuffling of opponents just hours before the card. Chimaev was originally set to face Nate Diaz in the main event.
The new opponent was no problem for Chimaev, but following his latest display of dominance, questions arose about his fighting future, and which weight class he would compete in next time. So far in his UFC career, he has competed twice in the middleweight division, and three times at welterweight before Saturday’s catchweight bout.
UFC president Dana White said Chimaev’s next bout might be at 185 pounds due to the issues his weight missed caused at this event. If so, there is one competitor Chimaev would rather not face in that division: former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
“I like that guy, so I don’t want to fight good guys,” Chimaev told reporters including MMA Junkie at the post-fight news conference. “I need some bad guys, so I want to fight some bad guy, you know? And don’t feel sorry for that.
“I want to train with that guy. He’s really good, like one of the best guys in the world. I was watching his fight. … I’m a big fan, so I watch all things. I watch how he trains, and all these things. A lot of guys want to fight me, so Robert never said something bad about me. There’s a lot of guys talking sh*t about me. I’m gonna go take their heads off, you know? So, we’ll see.”
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Whether or not Chimaev’s next fight takes place at middleweight or at welterweight is of little concern. The undefeated “freak of nature,” as White described him, will return to the gym to prepare for his next challenge.
“I’m going to go back and listen to my coach,” Chimaev said. “If he says we go to 170, we go 170. If he says we go heavyweight, we go heavyweight. I don’t care. I do my training camp how he said. We train hard, never stop. … I have nothing to do. Only gym is my life.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 279.