NEW YORK – Dana White says pump the brakes on Khamzat Chimaev being the next title contender.
After Kamaru Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC) defeated Colby Covington for a second time this past Saturday at UFC 268, many are wondering who can possibly dethrone “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
Chimaev (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) has ran through competition in his four UFC fights, absorbing just one significant strike. His dominant first-round submission over Li Jingliang at UFC 267 proved he can hang with top contenders, but White thinks he still needs to be properly tested before challenging Usman.
“You’ve got some guys out there talking about Khamzat Chimaev that he’s ready for – he’s had four fights in the UFC,” White said at the UFC 268 post-fight news conference. “I get it: The dude is one of the coolest, baddest things we’ve ever seen and the way he rips through people. But once you break into the top 10, top five – not even talking about Usman – it’s a whole other game. He’s a couple of fights away. If he can beat a couple of guys in the top 10, top five, then we’ll see.”
A fight that White would like to see Chimaev take next is Nate Diaz, whom Chimaev called out after taking out Jingliang.
So the next title challenger is likely Leon Edwards (19-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC), who’s unbeaten in his past 10 UFC fights. But first, Edwards has to settle his grudge match with Jorge Masvidal (35-15 MMA, 12-8 UFC) at UFC 269 before getting his long-awaited rematch with Usman.
“(Leon) has been waiting for a title shot for a long time, too,” White said. “He’s been in there (and) fought the fights we told him to do. He’s had a lot of bad luck. Things happen, but there’s always somebody.”