Chimaev was slated to face Diaz in the UFC 279 main event on Saturday before missing weight on Friday. The UFC then matched him up with Kevin Holland in the co-main event and moved Tony Ferguson up in the card to face Diaz.
Chimaev missed weight for the first time in his career, coming in on the scales at 178.5lbs, 7.5lbs over the welterweight limit. He later claimed he could’ve made the weight, but doctors advised him to stop cutting ahead of another possible attempt.
Chimaev turned from megastar to heel over hours in Las Vegas. The crowd booed him mercilessly and he seemed to relish in the anger and frustration of fans.
Despite the wild past few days, Chimaev still believes he’s the bigger name when it comes to comparing himself with the veteran Diaz.
Khamzat Chimaev Feels Star Power Hasn’t Changed After Weigh-Ins
During the UFC 279 post-fight press conference, Chimaev compared the amount of buzz he received from fans compared to Diaz.
“I was watching on the UFC Instagram, the weigh-in, for ‘most used’ [search term], what Diaz has and what I have,” Chimaev said. “Then you understand who is the [biggest] star. Which one is who people want to see. I had almost 8 million something, he had 6 million. I jumped over two [million] ahead of him, so this is an answer for everything. People can say they don’t want to watch this fight but [they’re] liars. Everyone wants to watch my fight. Everyone wants to see killer, none of that smoking shit and drug dealer [stuff].”
Chimaev is undefeated in his professional MMA career and may be a win away from a welterweight title shot. UFC Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards will likely face Kamaru Usman in a trilogy next, with Chimaev and others waiting in the wings.
UFC 279 was the final fight of Diaz’s UFC contract and potentially his last appearance in the Octagon. Despite the chaos that came with the past few days, Diaz by far earned the biggest pop from the fans on fight night.
Chimaev is undoubtedly part of the new wave of MMA stars to keep an eye on moving forward and he feels he’s already done enough to surpass Diaz’s box office appeal.
Do you agree with Khamzat Chimaev?