Khamzat Chimaev claims he was in line to fight the winner of Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards even if he didn't fight Nate Diaz

UFC 273: Khamzat Chimaev after defeating Gilbert Burns via unanimous decision
UFC 273: Khamzat Chimaev after defeating Gilbert Burns via unanimous decision

Khamzat Chimaev has risen swiftly in the UFC since debuting just over two years ago. His talent was undeniable, but many questioned whether Khamzat was ready to compete for a belt in the welterweight division.

Khamzat proved he can handle elite talent when he defeated Gilbert Burns via unanimous decision in an awe-inspiring contest.

According to Khamzat, the No.3- ranked welterweight, that performance alone was enough to gain a title shot. Instead, he will fight Nate Diaz in what is expected to be the biggest money fight of his young career.

Appearing on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Khamzat claimed [starting at the 3:18 mark] that he didn't need to take the fight:

I don't need to fight with Nate Diaz. If I wanted to wait, this is going to take a long time. Usman fights one time in one year now. He has everything. He has money. He is pound-for-pound number one. That's why he wants to wait. You know like, he takes a long time, he doesn't want to lose his belts."

Should Khamzat Chimaev have taken the fight?

Taking a fight against an aging Nate Diaz seems like an easy task for a fighter as dominant as Khamzat Chimaev. He has even mocked Diaz, hinting that his [Nate's] last UFC fight [against Chimaev] will be his "funeral."

Khamzat still has much to gain by beating Diaz, even if he was promised a title shot without the fight. Nate Diaz is immensely popular among fight fans and beating him in his last fight would surely add luster to Khamzat's name.

Chimaev will star in the headliner at UFC 279, which will be his first main event in the promotion.

Chimaev is yet to fight a full five rounds in any promotion. His victory over Burns solidified his place as a welterweight contender, but it was only a three round bout. Taking the fight with Diaz will help Chimaev in the long run. Assuming Usman defeats Edwards, he is not the opponent you want to face in your first five-round fight.

While many, such as Dan Hardy, feel that the matchup is unfair, Diaz is not a fighter to be overlooked. Despite the online insults, Khamzat showed Diaz respect during his appearance on The MMA Hour.

Watch Chimaev's appearance on The MMA Hour below:


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Edited by Virat Deswal
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