Khamzat Chimaev is questioning Sean Strickland’s assertion that Chimaev doesn’t deserve a shot at the UFC middleweight title.
Chimaev fired back Monday on X, formerly known as Twitter. He suggested he’ll quickly defeat the current champion in their potential fight.
After Chimaev beat former welterweight champ Kamaru Usman by majority decision at UFC 294 on Saturday, UFC president Dana White confirmed that he wanted to book Strickland-Chimaev next.
Strickland said in an interview that although he’s willing to face Chimaev in his first title defense, “getting a decision with a welterweight off a couch is not f—–g earning it.”
Usman, of course, stepped up on 10 days’ notice for the fight with Chimaev, replacing Paulo Costa. Usman had never competed at 185 pounds before. As such, Chimaev – who returned to middleweight Saturday after three consecutive fights at 170 pounds – still doesn’t own a win over a ranked middleweight.
However, Chimaev has still impressed in his UFC career, remaining undefeated in his first seven appearances with five stoppages. He’s 13-0 as a pro.
“The only thing I like about Chimaev is he sells fights,” Strickland said Saturday. “For some reason, people f—–g like him or don’t like him. I don’t know. To me, he’s a f—–g paycheck.”
Some have argued that Dricus Du Plessis deserves the next crack at Strickland more than Chimaev does. Du Plessis, the No. 1-ranked contender, is coming off an upset TKO win over former middleweight champ Robert Whittaker in July.
Strickland claimed the title with a surprise unanimous decision win over Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 in September.