Don’t expect Paulo Costa to be one of them.
Just days before he headlines his first pay-per-view, the undefeated welterweight got into an altercation with Costa at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. The footage, which Costa later released, showed the fighters exchanging words before coming face-to-face with a cage between them.
Costa later said if the Chechen mauler gets through Diaz on Saturday, “I want to fight you.” On Wednesday at UFC 279 media day, Chimaev responded to the altercation.
“Nothing [happened],” Chimaev said. “He was talking s*** about me. I never talked about that guy, maybe once or something. He wants to be famous now.
“Israel [Adesanya] f***** his ass. So what? All the world saw that s***. He has to go back and do something easy.”
As far as possibly fighting Costa after Saturday night, Chimaev quickly dismissed the idea. While he has previously competed at middleweight, it doesn’t appear his return to 185 pounds will happen against Costa.
“Why [should I fight him]?” Chimaev said. “I don’t fight with that guy. Somebody already f***** him up in the ass.”
Chimaev also addressed the welterweight division, where a win over Diaz at UFC 279 could have put him on a collision course with Kamaru Usman. Those plans changed in dramatic fashion after Usman suffered a shocking knockout loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 278 in August.
Chimaev, who was previously scheduled to face Edwards before multiple fights between them were cancelled, praised the British welterweight for pulling off the upset, especially after it appeared he was cruising toward a decision loss.
“It was an amazing performance,” Chimaev said about Edwards. “He showed his heart. In the last minute, he knocked him out. I am happy for him. He deserved that. He worked hard.”
That said, Chimaev isn’t so sure that Edwards wants to actually revisit their past rivalry now that he’s finally celebrating as UFC champion.
“He doesn’t want to talk about me,” Chimaev said. “I see somebody asked him my name, and he jumped over it. He spoke about [Nate] Diaz, he spoke about [Jorge] Masvidal, [Kamaru] Usman, all of them. The guy doesn’t want to see my face.”
All signs are currently pointing toward an immediate rematch between Edwards and Usman in early 2023, though nothing has yet been offered or accepted.
If Usman can bounce back from the knockout and reclaim the welterweight title, Chimaev also welcomes the opportunity to face him.
“I hope he’s healthy,” Chimaev said about Usman. “We will see. I want to see him come back. If he comes back like he was before, I want to fight with that guy.”