Khamzat Chimaev next for UFC champ Israel Adesanya? ‘We can’t be ridiculous,’ says Eugene Bareman

City Kickboxing coach Eugene Bareman questions what Khamzat Chimaev has done to deserve a shot at Israel Adesanya.

After Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) reclaimed his middleweight title with a knockout of Alex Pereira in this past Saturday’s UFC 287 headliner, Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) called him out.

With Adesanya already holding wins in his previous reign over top contenders Robert Whittaker, Marvin Vettori, Jared Cannonier, and Paulo Costa, there appears to be no clear-cut No. 1 contender. But just because that’s the case, Bareman says that doesn’t mean Chimaev deserves it.

“Has Khamzat fought at middleweight yet? We can’t be ridiculous,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “This is the most prestigious title in the sport. Sometimes business takes precedent, I understand that. You’re just devaluing the organization, you’re devaluing the sport, you’re devaluing everything that we’ve stood for.”

Chimaev competed twice in the UFC at middleweight, scoring a submission of John Phillips in his debut and a 17-second knockout of Gerald Meerschaert in September 2020.

Bareman clarified that they’re in no way shying away from the challenge. He just thinks Chimaev needs to climb his way up at middleweight – even if it’s in a fast-tracked way like Pereira did.

“At the minimum, fight three guys that no one’s ever heard of, like Pereira,” Bareman said. “I’m not arguing against fighting Khamzat. I think Khamzat would be a great fight. He’s a big name, he’s a challenge, and we’re all about challenges. He brings high-level MMA wrestling to the sport.

“That’s a challenge, and I love the challenge. But I’m arguing for the prestige of the UFC, for the brand and for the sport. Khamzat would be a great fight and like Israel says to all these opponents, ‘I hope you go out there and get the job done.’ Do your job so that you can see him.”


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For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 287.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie