Khamzat Chimaev receives ‘welcome’ to light heavyweight division by former champion
Khamzat Chimaev and Jiri Prochazka are both looking for their next opponent … so why not fight each other?
After returning to the Middleweight division for an apparent long-term stay, Chimaev was passed over for his expected title shot against the champion, Sean Strickland. UFC 297 will feature Strickland’s first defense as the titleholder, taking on South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Jan. 20, 2023. Therefore, prompting Chimaev to call for his shot against newly-minted Light Heavyweight kingpin, Alex Pereira.
Yet to receive a response from “Poatan,” Chimaev has instead been met with an invitation from another former champion, Jiri Prochazka.
“I would like to welcome you to LHW division [lightning bolt emoji]” Prochazka tweet replied to Chimaev’s callout of Pereira.
Prochazka recently made his long-awaited return after a nasty shoulder injury in late 2022. The Czech Republic native took on Pereira in the UFC 295 main event for the vacant title, where he suffered his first loss since December 2015 via second round technical knockout (watch highlights) earlier this month (Nov. 11, 2023).
Chimaev and Prochazka aren’t strangers to each other, having trained in the past, leading to Chimaev sharing details on how things went. The former Light Heavyweight champion wasn’t too pleased by the claims, making a fight between the two intriguing despite the difference in weight class.
The undefeated 13-0 Chimaev’s biggest victory yet came over the former Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, at UFC 294 this past month (Oct. 21, 2023). Battling it out in their 185-pound affair, Usman fell short via a majority decision. Chimaev has reportedly been dealing with a hand injury since then, leaving his return timetable up in the air.