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Dana White: Khamzat Chimaev’s next fight will be UFC headliner against a ranked opponent

ABU DHABI – UFC president Dana White says Khamzat Chimaev will indeed be headlining an event in his next fight.

After Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) tweeted on Thursday that his next fight will be a five-round main event, White confirmed the news. However, he shut down rumors that he will be competing on the current stretch of “Fight Island” events in Abu Dhabi, which go until Oct. 24.

“No, he’ll fight in Vegas,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during the UFC 253 press conference at Yas Island.

Though White didn’t mention the opponent, Chimaev was previously double booked to face Gerald Meerschaert, then former two-time UFC title challenger, Demian Maia.

Chimaev extended his unbeaten record by starching Meerschaert in just 17 seconds this past weekend at UFC on ESPN+ 36, which was believed to set him up against the top-15 ranked Maia.

The Russian prospect has taken the MMA world by storm since joining the UFC roster in July, picking up three dominant finishes – one by submission and two by knockout, showing off his well-rounded game.

White did not provide a timeline for Chimaev’s first headlining appearance. Given the current event timeline, though, it’s likely to be in November or December.

As far as the opponent goes, it appears Chimaev is prepared to take on anyone at either middleweight or welterweight.

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