Khamzat Chimaev went through a messy weight-related situation ahead of his supposed UFC 279 headliner against Nate Diaz. “Borz” ended up missing the welterweight limit by almost eight pounds, which led to him facing Kevin Holland at a 180-pound catchweight, instead.
His coach Andreas Michael later attributed it to Chimaev’s rough COVID battle in late 2020, stating his fighter’s “body has been a little bit off” ever since. Whatever the real reason may be, many are now doubtful about Chimaev’s ability to make 170 pounds, Sean O’Malley being one of them.
“When was the last time Khamzat made 170? Actually. Not the last two fights, it’s probably been a year,” O’Malley told coach Tim Welsh on their YouTube show.
“(His next opponent) can’t be Colby, he’s not gonna make 170. I just don’t see him making 170. I don’t even know if the UFC will book him at 170.”
The 28-year-old Chimaev made waves in the UFC, both as a welterweight and middleweight fighter. But O’Malley is also skeptical about seeing Chimaev at 185 pounds, especially with the step up in competition.
“It doesn’t seem like he wants to go up to 185, which is kind of surprising. ‘Cause he is big, and he’s super f—ng skilled. And he’s gotta be confident, but…
“I don’t know if he wants those big fights up there. They’re big boys.
“He gets you down, you guys play on the ground for a little bit. Second round, you guys are on the feet, you guys are a little more tired. Those top, top-level guys aren’t gonna get subbed super easy.”
Ultimately, O’Malley sees middleweight as the only next sensible option for Chimaev.
“I think (Chimaev’s next fight has) gotta be at 185. If you’re the UFC, you can’t risk him going to 170 again and him not making weight. Can’t risk that.
If Chimaev does decide to move up to middleweight, he already has a potential opponent waiting for him.