Khamzat Chimaev might finally be ready to commit to the middleweight division.
The undefeated Chechen, who has fought at both 170 pounds and 185 pounds in the UFC, has now teased a potential move up in weight following a disastrous cut that pulled him from the main event at UFC 279 and nearly cost him fighting on the card at all.
On Friday, Chimaev posted a message on Twitter simply stating ‘185’ without anything else attached beyond a photo of himself.
Of course, Chimaev has previously stated that he planned on competing in two divisions in the UFC with hopes that he could eventually capture titles in both weight classes. Unfortunately his road to gold at welterweight took a massive detour when he hit the scale at 178.5 pounds — a full 7.5 pounds over the limit for a non-title fight — and he lost his chance to face Nate Diaz.
Chimaev still managed to stay on the card where he picked up a decisive win over Kevin Holland in a catchweight fight but afterwards, UFC president Dana White suggested he make the move up to middleweight.
“It’s a problem,” White said just after UFC 279 ended. “That’s a problem that he missed weight. I don’t know. We’ve got to look at it and figure it out. What makes sense is for him to fight at [185 pounds], so we’ll see.
“It is what it is. It happened. We’ll go back this week and come up with a plan and probably have him fight at .”
On paper, Chimaev might actually have a shorter path to a title shot at middleweight than welterweight considering reigning champion Israel Adesanya has already laid waste to the majority of contenders in the rankings. Adesanya still has to get through old foe Alex Pereira at UFC 281 in November before he can start looking ahead at Chimaev or anybody else for that matter.
Still, Chimaev teasing a move to middleweight will likely see a large group of contenders start lining up to welcome him back to the division where he currently sports a perfect 4-0 record including two first-round stoppage victories in the UFC.