The train is en route to the station and the UFC are anticipating a quick turnaround for Khamzat Chimaev.
The Dagestani-Swede fighter shook up the MMA world back in July when he won two fights in two different weight classes in just 10 days to stake his claim among the top ranked prospects in the welterweight division.
After destroying John Phillips at middleweight and then dismantling young Rhys McKee, Chimaev wanted another quick turnaround for a fight in August and called out Demian Maia. The fight never came together that month with travel issues playing a part, but the UFC have seemingly sorted him out and are making up for lost time.
Chimaev will now fight Gerald Meerschaert on September 19th in Las Vegas on the undercard to Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley. Should he be successful in that bout, Dana White has revealed that they are looking to pair him up with Demian Maia on Fight Island which is expected to take place for UFC 253 when Israel Adesanya takes on Paulo Costa for the middleweight championship.
Meerschaert has lost four of his last six fights, including being knocked out by Ian Heinisch in the first round at UFC 250. With Chimaev currently 8-0 and riding high on the wave of momentum following his two wins, it’s highly likely that he will look to end this one early once again in a similar fashion to the way he dominated Phillips and McKee.
The bout with Maia is much more interesting however. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert had won three in a row before a knockout defeat to Gilbert Burns back in March. In that run of wins, he beat legendary wrestler Ben Askren via submission after the two exchanged strikes due to the others grappling strengths.
The difference here is Khamzat is an accomplished kickboxer too, so striking is something he is comfortable doing. It may mean that we’ll see a new side to Chimaev in that fight should it happen. The other option of course is that he continues his path of destruction by wrestling his opponent immediately and just profusely beating on them until he can secure a submission or the referee shows some mercy.
A win over Meerschaert and Maia would elevate Chimaev straight into the top contenders of the division, and possible future bouts against the likes of Colby Covington or Leon Edwards could be all that separate him from a title shot within a year of entering the organisation.