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Khamzat Chimaev Has Only One Rival to Replace Paulo Costa at UFC 294 & It Happens to Be a Former Champ – “That’s the Main Event”

Published 10/02/2023, 5:15 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

From the Moment the Khamzat chimaev vs. Paulo Costa fight was announced, Chael Sonnen was skeptical about the happening and non happening about the fight. Sonnen, multiple times in his videos, has claimed that the happening of the fight looms in darkness as he has doubts over the availability of the fighters. And to everyone’s surprise, Costa has injured himself, specifically his elbow. Even though he states that he is ready to fight, Sonnen is more skeptical about the match.

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The eagerly awaited Chimaev vs. Costa fight currently lacks a backup fighter with only 19 days remaining. Chael Sonnen appears to have a suggestion for a potential backup fighter in his YouTube video, and he is urging Dana White and the company to consider his recommendations.

Chael Sonnen advises UFC have former champ as the backup fighter for Chimaev vs. Costa


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The 46-year-old former UFC fighter has always stated that he is uncertain about the Costa and Chimaev match to materialize. In the also he has pushed the UFC to ascertain a backup fighter in case any of the fighters pulled out. Recently, Sonnen on his YouTube channel emphasized the need for a backup fighter since this Chimaev vs. Costa fight is as important as the main event.

Sonnen in the conversation added “They need it. It is paramount that they have a backup fighter in Abu Dhabi for Paulo Costa versus Chimaev. It is paramount, and it can’t just be anybody because that’s the feature match. That’s the main event, as far as we’re all concerned. That’s the match that we’re all getting ready to see. That’s the match that was promised six months ago. That’s the match where a fight was broken up in Salt Lake City to make it happen”.


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Further into the conversation, he emphasized the significance of having only one fighter who could serve as the backup fighter. This fighter is fully prepared and has actively requested these matchups, and that fighter is none other than Kamaru Usman. “ The right guy has a name. The right guy’s already asked for the fight. The right guy’s in shape, and he’s ready because he’s always in shape and ready. The right guy needs to position himself today, because this is less than a month away. The right guy to fill in for Paulo Costa or Chimaev, whichever one of them blinks first, and they’re both blinking right now. Little inside news for you: the right guy is Kamaru Usman,” Sonnen said.

Chael Sonnen’s concerns about the Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa matchup


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Sonnen on a previous occasion had raised his concerns regarding the fight. The UFC veteran suspected that there was something off about the Chimaev vs. Costa matchup. He emphasized his concerns by adding that both the fighters in the past had issues with actually getting into the cage.

via Imago

Sonnen said, “Chimaev and Paulo Costa are getting ready to fight in what we believe is the number one contenders match. Not only has the organization not said that, they haven’t said it… There is something that is very off about the promotion, or lack thereof, between those two about that fight.”


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In that same video, he justified his concern about the lack of a backup fighter for such an anticipated match He alleged that the UFC was attempting to safeguard a fight that could potentially be canceled by failing to enlist substitute fighters. Having replacements ready would imply an acknowledgment of possible difficulties with the match, making this a cautious strategy on the organization’s part.

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Written by:

Suryakant Das


One take at a time

Suryakant Das is a passionate fan of UFC, mixed martial arts, and bodybuilding. Alongside his passion for sports activities, he is training to be a chartered accountant and has previously worked as a content lead in varied organizations. Suryakant's writing reveals a unique perspective on the world of MMA, enriched by his hunger to consume the latest happenings in the sport.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen