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

Sean O’Malley: Khamzat Chimaev’s ‘smartest f*cking career move’ would be going to middleweight

Sean O'Malley thinks Khamzat Chimaev moving up to middleweight is ideal for his career.

Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), who emerged as a welterweight contender when he outlasted Gilbert Burns at UFC 273, teased middleweight for his next fight. He called out both reigning champion Alex Pereira and former welterweight title challenger Colby Covington, but he’s yet to be booked.

O’Malley sees middleweight being perfect for Chimaev for one reason – the frequency of fighting. Chimaev missed the welterweight mark by 7.5 pounds for his originally scheduled bout against Nate Diaz at UFC 279. He wound up facing Kevin Holland instead in a 180-pound catchweight bout and submitted “Big Mouth” in Round 1.

“That’d be the smartest f*cking career move for that guy,” O’Malley said on his YouTube channel. “Because making ’70, he has to be on a strict diet all year round. He can’t f*ck around once or twice. I mean, he’s not gonna make the weight. Go up to 185. You can eat. You can be strong, do sh*t like that.”

O’Malley thinks the UFC is in need of another superstar. With Conor McGregor out, O’Malley sees Jon Jones’ return as vital for the UFC but isn’t sure if he’s to be relied upon based on his history of mishaps.

Other than himself, O’Malley named Paddy Pimblett, as well. But with Pimblett coming off a controversial decision over Jared Gordon and set to undergo ankle surgery in March, he still thinks there’s a current gap in stars for the promotion. That’s where he sees Chimaev being the guy to sell fights for the UFC.

“Yeah, Khamzat, if he can make the weight,” O’Malley said. “I mean, that’s a big deal making the weight. Even if he goes up to 185, who’s up at ’85 that would be fun to watch him fight. … Izzy (Adesanya), Alex Pereira. Bo Nickal’s up there. I mean, he’s still obviously new in his career in the UFC, but that’s interesting.”

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