Khamzat Chimaev OK with Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman trilogy next, could pivot to Israel Adesanya

·2 min read

For Khamzat Chimaev, a win over Nate Diaz could lead to a UFC title shot – at welterweight or middleweight.

Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) meets Diaz (20-13 MMA, 15-11 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 279 main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

UFC president Dana White said Chimaev is next in line for a title shot if he beats Diaz. But after Leon Edwards dethroned Kamaru Usman to win the welterweight championship, a trilogy bout between Edwards and Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) is expected to be next.

Chimaev doesn’t necessarily see that delaying his title hopes.

“If they want to do it, for me no problem,” Chimaev told ESPN of an Edwards vs. Usman trilogy. “I’m gonna take some other fight, and we will see what’s happening. Maybe Israel Adesanya or the other guy, Pereira. Who wins that, maybe fight with them. I don’t know.”

Chimaev thinks Usman’s lack of focus cost him against Edwards. Usman was being compared to Georges St-Pierre as the greatest welterweight of all time, and with “The Nigerian Nightmare” continuously calling out boxing champ Canelo Alvarez, Chimaev believes his mind wasn’t in the right place.

“It was a crazy fight, good fight,” Chimaev said. “I learned a lot of things about that fight. The guy (Usman) was too much high up: ‘I’m gonna fight with Canelo,’ and he got shot. He wasn’t being focused.”

He continued, “I don’t think he’ll be the same guy again in the mind. We’ve seen a lot of champions thinking no one can beat (them), because he defend so many times, now (he’s) unbeatable, that kind of thing, and bam, somebody knock you out. Now you know you’re human, as well.”

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As for the highly anticipated fight between Chimaev and Usman losing steam, “Borz” still thinks a potential fight between them would garner interest.

“If it will happen, it will be a big fight,” Chimaev said. “Everyone want to see that fight, because he’s almost the same kind of fighter like me. Good wrestling, good boxing, but his grappling is terrible. Leon Edwards took him down, take his back. If I take his back, I squeeze off his head. Everyone wants to see that fight.”

Chimaev vs. Diaz: Who wins at UFC 279? - Powered By PickUp

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie