UFC may prevent Khamzat Chimaev from returning to welterweight
The shuffling of main card opponents at UFC 279 arguably resulted in better matchmaking than originally intended, but it may also have some long-term consequences.
Rising star Khamzat Chimaev - who fights at both welterweight and middleweight - weighed in at 7.8lbs over the 170lbs welterweight limit prior to his scheduled bout against Nate Diaz at UFC 279. The resulting re-shuffling of the card had Chimaev face Kevin Holland in a 180lbs catchweight fight.
Chimaev kept his hype train going with a first round submission victory. However, his missing weight by such a wide margin raised questions about his future at welterweight.
UFC president Dana White questions 'whether we should even let him make 170 pounds again,' while also clarifying that it would ultimately be Chimaev's own choice: 'Where does he want to be, and what does he want to do? ... Somebody get in there and figure out what he really wants to do, and let's figure it out, and let's make a fight.'
What could complicate a potential move up in weight is the fact that Chimaev is ranked third in the UFC's official welterweight rankings, and has built his resumé largely to justify a title shot at welterweight.