Chimaev ran through welterweight veteran Li Jingliang this past Saturday at UFC 267, literally carrying Li around the octagon before slamming him to the ground and submitting him, while sneaking in a cageside conversation with White mid-fight.
Speaking to the media in Abu Dhabi later that evening, Chimaev mentioned Diaz as one of the names at the top of his hit list. White is all in on the idea.
“We’re gonna talk to Nate about it,” White told TMZ Sports. “One hundred percent.”
Chimaev captured the attention of the MMA world when he won two fights in 10 days on Fight Island in July of last year, then followed that up with a 17-second knockout of Gerald Meerschaert two months later. He accomplished this while jumping between welterweight and middleweight and is currently 2-0 in both divisions. However, his momentum was derailed by a bout with COVID-19 earlier this year that led to Chimaev being hospitalized and raised questions as to when — or if — he would fight again.
Those questions were answered emphatically with Chimaev’s latest victory, which improved his pro record to 10-0 with all of those wins coming by way of knockout or submission. According to UFC Stats, he has been hit with one significant strike in four UFC appearances.
In Chimaev, White sees a fighter with unlimited potential, not just in the cage but in terms of popularity as well.
“One hundred percent, this guy is like nothing that anybody’s ever seen,” White said. “When you think about, he’s got more UFC wins than he’s been hit inside the octagon. Insane. And the other night, our social team, they filmed his walkout on Instagram Live, it broke the record. It’s the biggest Instagram Live we’ve ever done.”