Jared Cannonier wants Khamzat Chimaev upon return: ‘Let’s do a fiver’
No. 4 ranked middleweight Jared Cannonier is returning to action soon after suffering a bad knee injury, and he’s eyeing a match-up with hot contender Khamzat Chimaev in the hopes that it gets him to a title fight.
Before Khamzat Chimaev ended up fighting Kamaru Usman as a replacement opponent at UFC 294, the promotion called Cannonier to see if he would step in. Unfortunately, he tore the MCL on his right knee and couldn’t accept the fight.
In a new interview with Inside Fighting, Jared is now hoping to be cleared to fight by the end of March, and sees “Borz” as a stepping stone to the 185 pound belt.
“It’ll sound cool to say ‘I’m your huckleberry.’ It does sound cool,” he said regarding Chimaev. “At this point and time, he’s ranked No. 9. I’m down to make it happen, as long as it’s clear that this is a [No. 1] contenders match. When I get back, if they’re not gonna give me the title, [give me] the next best thing, the thing that gets me to the title. And if you say that’s Khamzat, let’s do it.”
“They really want to push him to the title, he really wants to get to the title. And I’m right here,” he added. “I shouldn’t have to say ‘Hey, I want a title shot.’ It’s clear and evident that the ass I’ve been kicking says that I want the title shot. So if it’s not gonna be the title next, I will definitely fight the next guy in line. And if it’s Khamzat, let’s make that happen. Let’s do a fiver, let’s see what he’s got in five rounds.”
Cannonier has two decision wins over Sean Strickland and Marvin Vettori since a lackluster title fight loss to Israel Adesanya in July 2022. There was little chance he was going to get another shot at “Stylebender,” but the division is looking wide open right now with Dricus Du Plessis as the champion.
“He’s a pressure fighter, he is a present fighter,” Cannonier said of Du Plessis. “He doesn’t try to pull you into traps, he’d rather run you over and kick your head off … I know he’s a big guy and he likes to lean on his strength and stuff. I’ve seen that before, I’ve dealt with strong guys before. I’m more than capable of overcoming any sort of challenge any of these guys bring to me, so that fight is gonna be a banger: with me banging on his head and putting him away real quick.”