Khamzat Chimaev Reveals Why Dana White’s Promise Turned Untrue With UFC 297 Title Fight Between Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis Getting Confirmation

Published 11/15/2023, 10:31 AM EST

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Khamzat Chimaev has missed out on a title shot. After Kamaru Usman stepped in for an injured Paulo Costa, the winner of the UFC 294 co-main event was slated to fight for the middleweight title. And after his controversial majority decision win, it seemed the hyped Chechen would fight Sean Strickland next.

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However, when the UFC announced a UFC 297 clash between champion Sean Strickland and #1 ranked middleweight Dricus Du Plessis on January 2024, it was felt that Chimaev was passed over. The reason behind it was speculated to be ‘Borz’s Russian passport, which would have prevented him from traveling to the States due to the Ukraine war. The Emirati national, however, has put these speculations to rest.

Khamzat Chimaev reveals real reason he isn’t fighting for the middleweight title next

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In a recent interview, Khamzat Chimaev made it clear that the reason not to fight Strickland was his personal decision. He revealed that while the UFC had offered him ‘Tarzan’ for January, he and his manager felt it was not the right time for him to face the American. ‘Borz’ attributed this to a few injuries that he got during the Usman fight. He was, however, adamant that he remained the No. 1 contender and would fight the winner of Strickland-Du Plessis next.

“My manager called me and said in January. But the manager himself did not agree with them, he said, if you want, do this fight, and whoever wins, we will fight him. Because I now have minor injuries we are treating these injuries, and we also need to prepare for the fight… I remain the official contender for the title. I had a dislocated finger, damaged ligaments and some kind of infection in the cup,” Chimaev said in an interview with Aslanbek Badaev.

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While this is not good news for Chimaev fans, most UFC fans are happy that Du Plessis will face Strickland next. The South African had to turn down a title shot against Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 as he was recovering from a shoulder injury. And after the UFC announced that the winner of Chimaev-Usman would get a title shot next, many fans were outraged.

 

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They felt that Du Plessis, who deserved the title shot next, was being unfairly passed up. Chimaev’s disappointing performance against Usman was a large part of the reason why Chimaev was deemed unworthy of the shot. However, Chimaev also explained why his performance tapered off so abruptly after the first round.

Chimaev talks about struggling during the Usman fight

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‘Borz’ had defeated Kamaru Usman in their UFC 294 clash. After dominating the first round convincingly, Chimaev’s performance dipped in the latter two. He seemed hesitant to throw against the former welterweight champion, which led many to speculate that he had injured his hand in the first round. And Chimaev confirmed this and explained he wasn’t able to effectively grapple with ‘Usman’ after the first round due to his hand being hurt.

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“He was injured at the end of the first round when he got hit in the head with a finger. After that, my hand started to hurt and I couldn’t hold the grip. After that I could pass, but I wasn’t confident in doing the grab because I had to work through the pain,” he said.

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It seems Chimaev, who was one of the most active fighters when he joined the UFC, will be out of action for at least the next few months. Whoever wins the middleweight title bout at UFC 297 will most likely not fight again for at least four months. And Chimaev will not want to risk a loss and threaten his position as the top title contender with another fight in the meantime.

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Written by:

Kanishk Thakur

868Articles

One take at a time

Hi, I am Kanishk and I am a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. I love telling the stories of these magnificent fighters and this wildly unpredictable sport that is so frustrating and yet so joyous at the same time. I never really used to watch MMA, thinking it too crude or brutal a sport to deserve respect.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Kumar Das

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