What the UFC and Khamzat Chimaev want is clear: for his next fight to be a headliner against a ranked opponent. The problem has been finding someone willing to step into the cage with him.
Chimaev has called out many top 15 middleweight and welterweight fighters since his 17-second knockout of Gerald Meerschaert last month. On Tuesday, he issued another callout when he responded to a Nate Diaz tweet mocking a potential Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier rematch.
Chimaev even had a specific date and location in mind.
“I don’t play fighting I fight so get your soft body to Vegas and I will smoke you on dec 19,” Chimaev wrote on Twitter . “You are a real fighter so let’s go.”
I don’t play fighting I fight so get your soft body to Vegas and I will smoke you on dec 19. You are a real fighter so let’s go @NateDiaz209
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) October 13, 2020
Diaz (20-12 MMA, 15-10 UFC) meets the criteria as the No. 13 welterweight in the UFC’s official rankings. Whether he’d even consider a fight with Chimaev is doubtful as he most recently was tied to talks of a rematch with Jorge Masvidal for the “BMF” title, but those plans appear to be on hold.
UFC president Dana White said last month that Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) would next meet someone ranked in a headliner, but nobody has stepped up to accept a bout with the undefeated 26-year-old Chechen standout who remains unranked. Chimaev, however, has plenty of hype surrounding his name. He made his UFC debut on July 16 and won his first two promotional bouts a record 10 days apart before his one-punch knockout of Meerschaert.
A bout between Chimaev and former 170-pound title challenger Stephen Thompson seemingly was in the works but has fallen off, leaving Chimaev’s next fight in question.