Kamaru Usman, Khamzat Chimaev winner will fight for UFC Middleweight Title
The UFC 294 co-main event has seen massive changes. An injury forced Paulo Costa out of the bout, but former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman stepped in on short notice to fight Khamzat Chimaev. As a result, UFC CEO Dana White has announced the bout will serve as a title eliminator.
The winner of the UFC 294 co-main event will be the next middleweight title challenger and will fight Sean Strickland.
White announced the bouts added stakes on “The Pat McAfee Show.”
“That is an absolute fact,” White said, when asked if the winner of Usman and Chimaev would fight Strickland for the middleweight title. “The fact that these guys are taking this fight on short notice, they will get the next shot at the title. You know, barring injuries and other things that could possibly happen.”
The fact that Usman and Chimaev are fighting for a No. 1 contender position answers a lot of questions about the middleweight division. Previously, Israel Adesanya and Dricus Du Plessis were both possible title contenders. Now, they will either be forced to wait for a title fight or potentially fight another contender.
This news should not come as a surprise for Chimaev. The top prospect has been near title contention for a significant period of time. A win over a legend further solidifies his right to fight for a title.
On the contrary, this news is highly impactful for Usman. This will be the former welterweight champion’s first middleweight bout, and the potential to fight for the title solidifies his place in the higher-weight class.
UFC 294 may have several new bouts, but the stakes will still be massive. A title bout will be on the line in the co-main event. Meanwhile, after stepping in on short notice, Alexander Volkanovski will have a chance to earn double champ status in the main event.
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