Despite only fighting once in 2021, Khamzat Chimaev remains one of the UFC’s biggest breakout stars right now. With that said, could 2022 be the year that he captures a shot at the UFC welterweight title?
While he’s clearly on a path to the top, Khamzat Chimaev definitely needs at least one more big win before he can face off with current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
So which fighters would make the best opponents for ‘Borz’ to put him on that path, should he defeat them, of course?
Here are five potential fights that could lead to a UFC title shot for Khamzat Chimaev.
#5. Khamzat Chimaev vs. Jorge Masvidal
Knocking off a previous title challenger is often the best way for a fighter to earn a shot at gold in the UFC. So it’d make a lot of sense for Khamzat Chimaev to attempt to defeat Jorge Masvidal in his quest for a shot at Kamaru Usman.
Masvidal was defeated handily by Usman in their clash last year at UFC 261, eating one of the year’s most violent knockouts. Despite not winning a fight since his 2019 win over Nate Diaz, he’s still one of the most dangerous welterweights in the promotion.
With Khamzat Chimaev currently ranked at No.11 in the division and Masvidal sitting five spots above him at No.6, this would definitely be a step up in competition for ‘Borz’, but it’s one that he’d probably love to take.
Not only would a win over Masvidal provide him with even more notoriety than he currently holds, given that ‘Gamebred’ still holds the UFC’s ‘BMF’ title, but the promotion could easily headline or co-headline a major event with this fight. That would give Chimaev his biggest spotlight to date.
More to the point, Masvidal has a number of losses to his name against powerful wrestlers, including in his first clash with Usman and his 2017 defeat at the hands of Demian Maia. Quite how ‘Gamebred’ would handle Chimaev’s takedowns is a major question mark.
Essentially, despite his superior experience, Masvidal is the kind of big-name, beatable opponent that could easily provide Khamzat Chimaev with a path to a shot at the UFC welterweight title.