Khamzat Chimaev wants an "easy" title clash with UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
The Chechen star missed weight ahead of his ill-fated fight with Nate Diaz earlier this month but ultimately choked out replacement opponent Kevin Holland. Chimaev has recorded a remarkable rise at 170lb which sees him ranked at No.3 in the division, and in a good position to challenge for Leon Edwards' title.
However after struggling to cut weight to meet the limit for his last fight, many have suggested that Chimaev would be better suited at 185lb where Adesanya currently reigns as champion. And Chimaev believes he can take the champion's "head off", and is adamant he is ready to make the step up and challenge for a title.
"Yeah, I'm ready for him," Chimaev told former UFC champion Henry Cejudo on his YouTube channel when assessing a leap up in weight to face Adesanya. "I still don't know when I see his last fight, I told the guys, 'He's an easy fight for me.' How he fights, how he fights a guy. It's like, for me, makes comfortable when I see the fight. He gets taken down and then he gives his back to the guy who's not a wrestler, not like ground guy.
"All his fights he's doing only standup. What's his name? Robert Whittaker take his back. When I see that, if I take his back, I'll take off his head." Chimaev was keen to continue making a harsh weight cut to face Diaz in his last outing, but was halted by UFC doctors after spells of fainting and vomiting.
The rising star once again showed his capabilities at the weight with a dominant wrestling performance, but has spoken about his plan to accept any challenge. Chimaev immediately called out 'Style Bender' following his latest win as he plans to be fast-tracked ahead of a series of middleweight contenders.
Who would win if the pair fought - Khamzat Chimaev or Israel Adesanya? Let us know in the comments section below
The champion has previously revealed he would accept the fight - but wants to see Chimaev work his way up the division to earn his shot. "I don’t have to take him seriously till I have to take him seriously and that’s a guy that definitely I'd like to fight if he does what he says he wants to do," he told ' True Geordie '.
"Because guess what? He’ll bring in a lot of eyes. That's how it all starts, those are the ones who are crazy enough to make it happen. He's on his way, but show me something first. At the moment, still, it’s just barking in the wind ‘cause who’s he fought at 185? He can beat a lot of these top guys at 185, but let me see it first."