Israel Adesanya and Khamzat Chimaev’s Pathway to UFC Gold Cleared as Dana White Sets December Fight for Top UFC MW Star

Published 09/23/2023, 3:15 AM EDT

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It looks like UFC’s middleweight division will finally get some much-needed clarity. How? Well, according to recent revelations, a particular UFC middleweight who had been advocating his claim to a title shot against new champ Sean Strickland, has seemingly been sidelined by the UFC.

The fighter in question is the #4 middleweight Jared Cannonier. Over the last week, Cannonier has made some bold claims on podcasts and interviews as to why he deserves a title shot and a chance to claim UFC gold against ‘Tarzan.’ But it seems like Dana White and Co. have some other plans for this rising star. 

Dana White and Co. may have a new challenge for UFC Middleweight Jared Cannonier


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It seems like Jared Cannonier has a new task at hand before he can think of taking on Sean Strickland. As per reports, ‘The Killa Gorilla’ has reached a verbal agreement for a bout with another rising middleweight star. Who’s the opponent he’s facing? It’s none other than #7 ranked middleweight Roman Dolidze.



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What’s more – the location of this UFC Fight Night event where the duo will clash hasn’t been officially announced. But it seems like the pair will lock horns at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. As for the date of the fight, sources revealed that this fight will take place on December 2. Moreover, it doesn’t look like this will be a headliner for the event – but rather a contender’s fight.

Read More: “Here’s Your Chance to Redeem Your Man Card…”: Backup for UFC 293 Main Event Jared Cannonier Calls Out Newly Crowned Middleweight King Sean Strickland Over “Bit*h” Israel Adesanya

ESPN’s Marc Raimondi was the first to break the news. And if the stars align, this move by the UFC could ensure that Sean Strickland has two potential choices for his title defense. One is to clash with former champ Israel Adesanya in a rematch. The other alternative is to take on the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev – if he delivers yet another dominant performance in his UFC 294 clash against Paulo Costa.

UFC middleweight star’s new challenge: Roman Dolidze

Whatever the case, it seems like after ‘The Killa Gorilla’ called for his chance to claim UFC gold – the UFC presented him with a challenge to prove himself. As for his rival, he’s an underdog who is quickly gaining ground in the UFC and rising in the ranks.


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In case you’re not up to speed – Dolidze is a Georgian MMA star, who made his UFC debut way back in July 2020. Since his debut, the middleweight has amassed 12 wins out of his 14 fights in the promotion. On the other hand, his rival Cannonier made his UFC debut way back in 2015, making him a veteran compared to the Georgian.

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It’s safe to say that ‘The Killa Gorilla’ remains a fan favorite for this fight. Notably, his last win came against Marvin Vettori, where he outgunned the former middleweight title challenger. Coincidentally, Vettori has also clashed with Cannonier’s rival Dolidze. But the outcome of this fight left the Georgian feeling bitter as it marked an end to his four-fight winning streak. So, the duo will now collide in the Octagon to decide who gets a potential title contender spot against Sean Strickland. 


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What do you think? Will Cannonier prove his point that he’s the number one title contender for ‘Tarzan’? Or is this just a move by the UFC to squash ‘The Killa Gorilla’s bold claims? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

Watch this story: Is the Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa Fight Happening on UFC 294?


Written by:

Ashish Tiwari


One take at a time

Ashish is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. With an unwavering love for the sport, he immerses himself in the thrilling world of MMA, capturing the essence of each high-octane fight and delving into the intricacies of a fighter's strategy. His in-depth knowledge and analytical approach enable him to provide unique insights into the sport.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen