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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Farah Hannoun

Khamzat Chimaev thinks he fights Robert Whittaker next after ‘Paulo Costa ran away’

Khamzat Chimaev sees Robert Whittaker as a possible next opponent.

Whittaker (24-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) was tentatively booked to face Paulo Costa in Saturday’s UFC 284 event, but the bout was scrapped after Costa failed to come to terms on a new deal.

With Whittaker currently opponent-less and Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) struggling to net a fight, “Borz” likes the idea of facing Whittaker next.

“I think I will fight Robert Whittaker,” Chimaev said in an interview with Red Corner MMA. “He’s got no opponent. Paulo Costa ran away after talking that much about me and Robert. So, I will fight Whittaker. I want this fight although I like him as a human being. He is a solid guy, doesn’t talk trash, doesn’t cross any lines. We are going to have fun at the press conference and fight each other.”

Chimaev missed weight by 7.5 pounds for his originally scheduled welterweight fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 279. As a result, he was booked against Kevin Holland instead in a 180-pound catchweight bout. He won the fight by first-round submission.

The whopping weight miss opened the door for a middleweight return for Chimaev, but he also sees himself facing the winner of the welterweight title fight between champion Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman, which headlines UFC 286 on March 18.

“Whoever takes it will face me,” Chimaev said. “I think it’s going to be another close fight. Let’s see if Leon will be able to take Kamaru out once again. To be honest, I expected Usman to retire after getting knocked out like that but he came back. We will see.”

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