Although it has been 10 months since welterweight superstar Khamzat Chimaev last competed in the Octagon for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, news of his return appears to be on the horizon.
Chimaev’s divisional future has been up in the air since his last appearance, a submission win over Kevin Holland on short notice. Because of his significant weight cut, his UFC 279 main event against Nate Diaz at 170-pounds was canceled.
Since then, both welterweight and middleweight bouts have been discussed as potential comeback bouts for the Swedish boxer who was born in Chechnya. Chimaev’s coach had stated his man’s desire to win gold at the lower weight class before moving up to pursue “champ-champ” title.
Recent social media activity, however, seems to have established 185 pounds as the near-term goal.
Khamzat Chimaev Appears Headed Towards A Fight Against A Top-5 Middleweight
Online banter with the likes of Kamaru Usman and Paulo Costa has fueled recent speculation about Chimaev’s possible return.
After the middleweight fight with the latter didn’t happen, it looked like “Borz” and “The Nigerian Nightmare” may battle in the Octagon.
Despite the fact that the former champion has challenged Chimaev to a fight at 170 pounds, it seems that middleweight is the more immediate objective.
Coach Azamat Dugulubgov appeared to confirm this in a recent Instagram post, in which he was seen watching a video of Chimaev’s upcoming opponent.
While the coach went over the division, names, and fighters, a sharp-eyed Twitter user appears to have spotted the precise freeze frame, revealing who Chimaev will fight in his return bout.
That settles it! UFC 294 will feature Jared Cannonier versus Khamzat Chimaev. I was able to track down the precise time that Jalin Turner’s coach, who is meant to be Khamzat’s rival, posted a photo to Instagram. As you can see, even the short-term sponsors are in agreement.
Its official! Jared Cannonier vs Khamzat Chimaev for UFC 294. I was able to find out the exact moment posted on the Instagram story of Jalin Turner's coach that is supposed to be Khamzats opponent. You can see for yourself, but everything aligns even the short-term sponsors. pic.twitter.com/2OEJakP8z0— Anderson Gold🕷️ (@frontkicked) July 9, 2023
After Jared Cannonier defeated Marvin Vettori last month and moved up to third place in the middleweight rankings, talk of a potential fight between Chimaev and Cannonier resurfaced.
At the press conference following his victory, “The Killa Gorilla” stated that he would be happy to enter the ring with the perfect “Borz,” but only if he were guaranteed a shot at the title.