Chimaev blasted onto the scene thanks to UFC’s Fight Island in July posting two wins, 10 days apart, in two different weight classes, in just 9:21 of total fight time. Then he went on to follow up his impressive start with 17 seconds, one-punch knockout of Gerald Meerschart less than a month later.
These three victories made him the fastest to 3 wins in the history of the UFC. He has quickly become one of the most feared men in the UFC and that may cause problems finding opponents.
Because all UFC fans are clamoring for more Chimaev and he has no opponent locked up yet, I thought it was a good time to look at potential opponents. So without further ado let’s look at five potential opponents for Chimaev’s next fight.
5. Demian Maia
Maia isn’t necessarily a flashy fight but it would be a good test for Chimaev. There probably aren’t many guys in the UFC that can hang with Chimaev on the mat but this is a guy who could really test his grappling. It would be nice to see how Chimaev does in a fight where he doesn’t have a clear advantage on the ground.
Chimaev would still go into this fight a heavy favorite more than likely but the test of a vet with Maia’s experience would be good for him. Maia has almost 40 career professional fights including fights against the likes of Gilbert Burns, Kamara Usman, Colby Covington, Tyron Woodley, Jorge Masvidal, etc. Fighting a guy with this type of experience would be a fine stepping stone for Chimaev and this is a guy who Dana White has mentioned so this could be one to watch out for.
4. Neil Magny
The Haitian Sensation would be another savvy vet with a lot of fights under his belt who could be a good test for Chimaev. Magny is ranked a few spots lower than Maia in the welterweight ranks at number nine, but would still be a quality opponent for Chimaev presenting a completely different type of challenge.
3. Chris Weidman
Weidman has been confirmed by UFC president Dana White as a guy who is in discussions to be Chimaev’s next fight. The former champ is not what he once was but would still present a decent challenge for Chimaev. The interesting part of this potential opponent is that he is one of the first guys to openly call out Chimaev (as seen below).
Chimaev responded with his patented “I will smash you.” The only problem presenting with this matchup is that Weidman proposed a date in January and there is absolutely no way that Chimaev doesn’t fight before then… if not a couple of times before then.
2. Darren Till
This is probably the best realistic fight for Chimaev right now. Till has the star power and popularity, he is high in the middleweight rankings (currently at six), and there is definitely a brewing beef between the two. If you would like to brush up on it just checkout Till’s Instagram account. He appears to be more than willing to fight Chimaev dedicating six straight posts to him on Instagram.
A Chimaev-Till fight would probably be a UFC 255 co-main event-level fight if Dana White can hold Chimaev off that long. Chimaev fans would be super excited for any fight, but this one specifically would be the most hype fight on the list thus far.
1. Jorge Masvidal
I have heard no rumors or anything of this fight, but this is my current dream fight for Chimaev. Why Masvidal is the perfect opponent? First off, Masvidal is coming off of a tough fought, five-round, decision defeat to current welterweight champion Usman – a fight that he took on six days’ notice. We already know that Masvidal is one of the toughest dudes in the sport and one of the scariest strikers, but where he really impressed in this fight was his gas tank on short notice and his grappling defense.
This version of Masvidal presents a great challenge for Chimaev who has shown the ability to stand and strike and excel in ground and pound. Masvidal will also bring a lot of star power creating a big fight. I also see welterweight is the division that Chimaev has the easiest path to the belt, so beating a top 5 guy in the division should propel him high into the rankings.
Now usually a guy in the top 5 would never want to fight an unranked fighter, but A) Chimaev isn’t your normal unranked fighter and B) Masvidal is not going to duck any fights. All in all, this makes for the perfect fight for Chimaev. The only thing standing in the way of it is Masvidal’s potential rematch with Usman. The UFC would have to confirm giving the title shot to Burns for Masvidal to get into any type of serious talks with Chimaev, but a guy can always dream, right?
What do y’all think? Who should ‘Borz’ smash next?