Manager: Khamzat Chimaev ‘never even brought up’ in talks for Sean Strickland title defense at UFC 297

Manager: Khamzat Chimaev ‘never even brought up’ in talks for Sean Strickland title defense at UFC 297

  • MMA News
  • novembre 15, 2023
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Khamzat Chimaev’s first career Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title shot has been put on the back burner.

“Borz” earned his most notable win yet at UFC 294 last month (Oct. 21, 2023). Tasked with former Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, in a Middleweight affair, Chimaev earned a majority decision. UFC CEO, Dana White, indicated ahead of the bout that the winner would be next in line for the recently crowned champion, Sean Strickland. However, the promotion instead went and booked Strickland’s first title defense against Dricus Du Plessis as the main event of UFC 297 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Jan. 20, 2023.

Despite the rumblings in favor of Chimaev, Strickland’s manager at Iridium Sports Agency, Lance Spaude, revealed the match up was never on the table.

“Never even brought up in the discussion,” Spaude told MMA Mania on Sound & Pound. “I don’t really know what Chimaev and his team are looking to do, but yeah, it wasn’t even really an option. Maybe they’re looking down the road. Maybe his wrist or hand is really as bad as they say it is. You hear a bunch of things.

“Sean’s a guy who will do what the UFC asks him to do when they ask him to do it as long as everything naturally makes sense for him,” he concluded.

South Africa’s Du Plessis was on his way to challenging for UFC gold before Strickland and appeared to have the spot first until a nagging foot injury prevented it. Strickland ultimately challenged the now-former two-time champion, Israel Adesanya, at UFC 293 in September 2023, upsetting “The Last Stylebender” via unanimous decision. The pair of upset artists are now set to collide and for Du Plessis, he’ll look to pull off another.

“We knew Dricus was a possibility, he’s the No. 1 contender,” Spaude said. “There’s no question that he’s the No. 1 contender now. We thought we’d probably end up with Chimaev, I think that was where it was trending, but Dricus has always been on the radar.

“Honestly, I’ve been looking at Dricus since he was scheduled to face Chris Curtis however long ago,” he continued. “He is very, very difficult to get a read on because you watch him and it looks like he’s doing things wrong, he’s not super clean, he’s not super polished, but he wins and he’s tough and he looks tired from the first five seconds of the fight, but he runs the same pace for 15 minutes, maybe 25, we’ll see. I think it’s a difficult fight. More so than people give Dricus credit for.”

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