The top-ranked contender came in 7.5 pounds over the welterweight limit at Friday’s official weigh-ins, tipping the scales at 178.5 pounds. Chimaev’s opponent Nate Diaz successfully made weight at 171 pounds (with one-pound allowance).
Watch video of Chimaev’s weigh-in miss above.
Chimaev has competed at welterweight and middleweight in the UFC. This is the first time that Chimaev has missed weight since joining the promotion in 2020.
Co-main event welterweights Li Jingliang and Tony Ferguson successfully made weight at 170.5 and 171 pounds, respectively. This is Ferguson’s first appearance at welterweight since winning The Ultimate Fighter 13 tournament final in 2011.
Chimaev’s massive weigh-in gaffe set off a chain reaction of bout changes, with Ferguson being bumped up to the main event to fight Diaz in a five-round affair, while Chimaev now fights Kevin Holland in a 180-pound catchweight bout, which will also be contested over five rounds. Holland was originally to fight Daniel Rodriguez on the main card, but Rodriguez now shifts to a 180-pound catchweight bout against Li.
Two other fighters missed weight, featherweight Hakeem Dawodu, who missed the limit at 149.5 pounds, and heavyweight Chris Barnett, who missed the limit at 267.5 pounds. Barnett is just the second UFC fighter ever to come in over the heavyweight limit, joining Justin Tafa on that dubious list.
Dawodu’s bout with Julian Erosa proceeds as a catchweight with Dawodu forfeiting 30 percent of his purse as penalty, while the Barnett’s bout with Jake Collier also proceeds at a catchweight with Barnett forfeiting 20 percent of his purse as penalty.
Watch a live stream of the UFC 279 official weigh-ins here:
Main card (ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
Khamzat Chimaev (178.5)* vs. Nate Diaz (171)
Tony Ferguson (171) vs. Li Jingliang (170.5)
Preliminary Card (ESPNN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET)
Hakeem Dawodu (149.5)** vs Julian Erosa (146)
Jake Collier (265) vs. Chris Barnett (267.5)***
Early Prelims (ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET)
*Chimaev missed the welterweight limit. He now meets Kevin Holland in a 180-pound catchweight bout, while Nate Diaz fights Tony Ferguson in the new UFC 279 main event
**Dawodu missed the featherweight limit. His bout with Julian Erosa proceeds at a catchweight with Dawodu forfeiting 30 percent of his purse as penalty
***Barnett missed the heavyweight limit. His bout with Jake Collier proceeds at a catchweight with Barnett forfeiting 20 percent of his purse as penalty