Khamzat Chimaev is set to make his return to the Octagon against the toughest test of his career, Paulo Costa, at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi in October.
The Chechen-Swede last competed at UFC 279, where he defeated Kevin Holland in a 180-pound catchweight bout after losing his spot in the main event following a horrible weight miss.
For more than a year, Chimaev sat on the sidelines because the UFC wouldn’t give him a fight, but now that he has finally gotten what he had been asking for, Daniel Cormier thinks he can earn himself a middleweight title shot with an impressive performance against the former title challenger.
“I don’t understand why Khamzat Chimaev has not fought again since he fought Kevin Holland,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel (as transcribed by MMA Junkie). “There’s more to this story than we know. Maybe I’ll do some digging to try and uncover it, but he’s fighting against Paulo Costa.
“If he beats Paulo Costa, Khamzat Chimaev will have earned himself a title fight at 185 pounds. And I don’t think anyone can disagree with that. I don’t believe that beating Gilbert Burns, going up, and now beating Paulo Costa doesn’t get you a championship opportunity. It makes you the No. 1 contender between Israel Adesanya and Dricus Du Plessis.”
Israel Adesanya will likely put his title on the line against Dricus Du Plessis later this year, and if Chimaev beats Costa, he’ll be the next in line to fight for the title because the middleweight lacks clear-cut contenders right now, bar Sean Strickland.
Do you agree with Daniel Cormier?