Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) has competed at middleweight several times before, but has emerged as a top contender at 170 pounds. However, after missing the welterweight mark by 7.5 pounds for his originally scheduled bout against Nate Diaz this past Saturday at UFC 279, many wonder if his future is at 185 pounds.
Chimaev mentioned his intent of becoming a UFC dual champion before, and when asked about a potential fight with Whittaker, “Borz” said he’d rather train with Whittaker (24-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC). The former middleweight champion is definitely interested.
“I’m happy with that,” Whittaker told Middle Easy. “His personality is just, what you see is what you get. He’s wild, but he’s a phenomenal fighter. I like his approach on hunting bad guys. I was really impressed with that (Kevin) Holland fight, and yeah, I’m very interested in seeing where he goes with this.
“Definitely, it is a compliment. I’d like to work with him because anyone that can implement game plans the way he has, and obviously his wrestling and grappling is top-tier. He’s trained with the likes of Till as well. Hopefully our paths cross and we can get some good work together.”
Whittaker was asked how Chimaev stacks up against the middleweight division’s top five, and after seeing him tear through Holland in one round at UFC 279, he’s confident he’d have no issues.
“For sure,” Whittaker said. “I can’t express enough how wild it was to see him just go in there and manhandle Holland that way. It was crazy. And then for him to have the undoubted belief and confidence and skill set, strength and endurance to just do that, it’s crazy. People don’t realize how hard it is to hold people down that don’t want to be held down. He did that quite easily. He’s a big dude. I’m sure he could do 185 quite well.
“I think a lot of what the fans can’t appreciate, and I think only the other fighters can appreciate, is the amount of confidence – the amount of confidence Chimaev needed to have to just be like, ‘You know what? I’m going to get this guy down, and that’s all I’m doing, and I will outlast him. I’ll get him down, I’ll hold him down, I’ll do what I want with him, and I’m going to do everything.’ Like, he just let his gas tank go. He just invested completely knowing that that’s how it was going to happen. It was wild – absolutely wild.”