The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is quietly preparing for one of its most thrilling matchups, flying somewhat under the radar—Kamaru Usman versus Khamzat Chimaev. These two welterweight powerhouses have expressed their interest in facing off against each other, and with some potential opponents for Chimaev already booked in other bouts (Costa vs.
Aliskerov, Whittaker vs. Du Plessis), the stage has opened up for a clash between Usman and Chimaev.
Weight Class Uncertainty Surrounding Usman vs. Chimaev Bout
However, despite the growing anticipation, the UFC has yet to provide official confirmation of the fight, leaving many key details in the dark.
The date and venue for the showdown remain unknown, and there is great interest in the weight class within which Usman and Chimaev will compete.
Questions linger over whether Khamzat can make the necessary weight cut to compete in the welterweight division, sparking rumors that the fight may be held at a catchweight.
While UFC President Dana White has previously expressed his reluctance towards catchweight bouts, he seems willing to make an exception in this case, stating, "I'm not a supporter of 'catchweight,' but I would be happy to arrange this match." During a press conference held yesterday, White addressed inquiries about the highly anticipated bout, confirming that the UFC is actively working on making the fight happen.
He acknowledged Usman's desire for the matchup, stating, "I think that it's a fight that Usman wants. That's no secret. Usman literally came to the office to lobby for that fight. I told him I love him. Usman is one of the best guys we've ever worked with.
I love working with the guy. You know, look at all the things he's accomplished. I don't do catchweights. Don't do it." He added: "You know how Khamzat is? If you talk sh** to Khamzat, Khamzat's gonna go right at it with you and doesn't care who he fights and all that stuff.
So, I don't know. Obviously, we've been making a lot of announcements lately. We haven't made that announcement yet because we don't have a fight done yet. But we're working on stuff for Khamzat."
Mysticmusman ??♂️?? — Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) May 19, 2023
Finding the Right Division for Usman vs.
Evidently, the UFC president faces a conundrum in determining the weight class for the Usman vs. Chimaev bout. Following the incident that unfolded in September of last year, where Chimaev failed to make weight for a welterweight fight against Nate Diaz, the stakes are high for the promotion.
At the time, UFC 279 was set to feature the anticipated showdown between Chimaev and Diaz in the welterweight division (-77 kg). However, Chimaev stepped on the scales nearly 3.5 kilograms above the upper limit for the category, causing Diaz to refuse the fight.
Consequently, a series of changes and adjustments ensued, ultimately resulting in Chimaev facing Kevin Holland at a catchweight. White is determined to avoid a repetition of such an incident, yet the question remains: does it make sense to stage this match in the middleweight division? Neither Chimaev nor Usman are ranked middleweight fighters, and Usman himself is not inclined to pursue the middleweight belt due to his close friendship with current champion Israel Adesanya.