Now that Leon Edwards is the undisputed UFC welterweight champion after shocking Kamaru Usman with a fifth-round knockout at UFC 278 last weekend the divisional future for Khamzat Chimaev remains up in the air.
Chimaev, who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 earlier this year, is gearing up for a main event clash with Nate Diaz next month at UFC 279. The undefeated “Borz” was expected to land the next welterweight title shot with a victory over Diaz, but now that Edwards is champ it’s unknown what the promotion is going to do with Chimaev.
Most likely, Edwards and Usman will fight for a third time sometime later this year into next. “Rocky” has also expressed interest in fighting Jorge Masvidal and finally settling their beef so maybe the promotion bites on that option. Either way, some things are going to have to fall into place for Chimaev to fight his way into a title shot after he takes on Diaz.
According to UFC color commentator Daniel Cormier, Chimaev was the biggest loser last weekend at UFC 279 after his title outlook was shuffled around in mere seconds.
“I think last weekend he did not understand that he was the biggest loser in the Usman vs. Leon situation, because he was in line,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel. “All he had to do was get past Diaz. All he had to do, get past Diaz, you fight for the championship, but with Leon Edwards winning now, now we got a trilogy and rightfully so.
“That leads to the question: What is this fight for? I feel like for Diaz, this fight’s for legacy. I feel like for Chimaev, this is just another scalp on his resume, because I don’t know if this win necessarily puts him closer than he already is to a championship fight. And, because of the result last weekend, he’ll need one more. I just wonder who that one more is going to come against. If he beats Diaz, does he get Covington next?”
Unfortunately for Chimaev, beating Diaz isn’t a given either. Despite being a massive betting favorite to take out Diaz in his last Octagon appearance at UFC 279 there’s always a chance that Chimaev suffers defeat and is no longer in position to challenge for a title. It’s unlikely given the matchup on paper, but look what just happened last week when Edwards shocked the world and left Usman staring at the ceiling.
What say you, Maniacs? Will Chimaev get a title shot with a win over Diaz? If not, who else does he have to beat?