Fresh off a fight of the year candidate against Gilbert Burns a couple of months back, Khamzat Chimaev is lining up his next opponent.
The 11-0 Chimaev has surged up the welterweight rankings since making his debut for the UFC on ‘Fight Island’ in the summer of 2020 but received his first true test at UFC 273 in April in his firefight with Burns, winning a close unanimous decision against Burns which set him up for a top contender matchup to position himself to be next in line for a title bout after Leon Edwards (eventually) gets his shot at Kamaru Usman.
First things first, however.
One fighter who has repeatedly called for a bout opposite Chimaev is another top-ranked welterweight: Belal Muhammad.
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) June 9, 2022
Having lost just one of his past 13 fights, Muhammad has taken something of a longer, more circuitous route up the 170-pound ladder but successive wins against Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia have suggested that he has more than earned a high profile bout.
And Khamazt Chimaev seems to be the guy, if their recent exchange on Twitter is anything to go by.
UFC 281 is scheduled for Abu Dhabi on October 22 next and doesn’t as of yet have any fights attached to it, though it has been linked as the destination of Charles Oliveira’s next world title defence — but a Chimaev vs. Muhammad fight would certainly fit the bill too.