Late last year, ‘Poatan’ challenged ‘Borz’ to a fight at light heavyweight. Since returning to the UFC from his life-threatening COVID bout in 2021, Chimaev has made clear his goals in MMA. One of them is to eventually become the first three-weight champion in UFC history. Starting at welterweight, the Chechen rising star has talked about eventually working his way through the middleweight and light heavyweight ranks as well.
Last year, after Pereira defeated Israel Adesanya for the middleweight crown at UFC 281, Chimaev was quick to call him out. In response, ‘Poatan’, who has to endure grueling 40lbs weight cuts to make 185lbs, suggested the pair clash at light heavyweight.
For now, the general consensus is Pereira will face Adesanya in a rematch for the middleweight gold. According to the new champion, Chimaev is not only hesitant to face him, but also anyone in the welterweight division.
“I Knew He Didn’t Want The Fight” – Alex Pereira On Khamzat Chimaev
During a recent interaction with InsideFighting, Pereira shared his thoughts on ‘Borz’. ‘Poatan’ was asked if he’d be up for Chimaev as his first challenger should ‘The Last Stylebender’ be unavailable.
“Well, he [Chimaev] mentioned a title defense,” Pereira said. “But it was right after my last fight, so I think it was kinda impossible. I called him out for a light heavyweight title fight, but I wasn’t in a position to do either. I called him out anyway just to see if he was up to it… I knew he didn’t want the fight.”
Pereira went on to discuss Chimaev’s inactivity at welterweight at the moment. According to the kickboxing ace, it stems from ‘Borz’s fear of losing at welterweight and potentially sullying his ongoing talks of competing at middleweight and light heavyweight.
“A little while ago, he talked about fighting at middleweight and also at light heavyweight,” Pereira said. “So he’s in the lower weight class [welterweight]. But in his weight class, when he’s maybe already the next title challenger, it’s kinda like there are no plans for him to fight… He doesn’t want to, because if he loses, like everyone can, if he loses in his own weight class, it ends all the noise he’s making… So he’s running from his own weight class because he’s the next title challenger.” (translation via InsideFighting)
Khamzat Chimaev has not fought since his UFC 279 victory over Kevin Holland. Rumors have swirled of a potential No.1 contender’s bout with Colby Covington at welterweight this year. However, considering Covington’s own much lengthier period of inactivity at the moment, the probability of the fight happening remains unclear.
Do you agree with Alex Pereira’s thoughts on Khamzat Chimaev?