- Khamzat Chimaev faces a setback with a torn ligament injury.
- The injury came after his unanimous decision victory over Kamaru Usman at UFC 294.
- Chimaev was initially slated to fight Paulo Costa, who was sidelined due to his hand injury.
- Sean Strickland, the new middleweight champion, awaits the next title contender.
- Dana White had indicated Chimaev could be next in line for a title shot against Strickland.
- The nature of Chimaev’s injury requires a month-long recovery with a brace.
Khamzat Chimaev’s impressive ascension within the UFC middleweight division experienced an unexpected setback, not due to an opponent in the octagon, but from an injury sustained in his recent bout.
Unexpected Injury at UFC 294
Chimaev, coming fresh off his unanimous decision victory over Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, initially expressed concerns about having broken his right hand. But recent updates from his management, as relayed by UFC’s broadcast partner, ESPN, point to a torn ligament. A relatively better prognosis, but an injury that nevertheless benches the rising star for an expected month.
Fierce Path to the Fight
The backdrop to the fight was itself dramatic. Khamzat Chimaev was originally slated to square off against Paulo Costa. However, ten days out, Costa was sidelined due to his own hand injury, ushering in former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as his replacement.
Strickland’s Title and Chimaev’s Pursuit
Sean Strickland, the new middleweight champion, awaited the winner. Following his monumental victory over Israel Adesanya at UFC 293, Strickland had expressed doubts over Chimaev’s qualifications for a title shot, particularly noting the short notice of Usman’s entry into the bout and his debut in the weight class.
Despite Strickland’s reservations, UFC President Dana White had earlier declared that the winner of Chimaev-Usman would indeed face Strickland for the title. With Chimaev’s victory, the stage seemed set for a title clash, but the recent injury might delay this anticipated face-off.
Also, read How to Watch UFC 294 Live Stream
Details of the Injury
Post the Usman bout, Chimaev was spotted mentioning his hand injury, an incident many believe might have taken place in the first round during a ground control sequence. His manager, Majdi Shammas, while confirming that it wasn’t a break, did emphasize the torn ligament’s severity, which requires a four-week brace.
As Chimaev looks to a recovery phase, many wonder about the UFC’s next steps. Would they wait for his recovery to finalize the title bout against Strickland? Or would other contenders, like Dricus Du Plessis, come into the picture given the delay?
One thing’s certain: Khamzat Chimaev, with an unblemished record of 13-0 in MMA and 7-0 in UFC, remains a strong contender, and fans eagerly await his return.