Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will go up against sensational and explosive Swedish fighter Khamzat Chimaev in a much-anticipated battle at UFC 294 in the middleweight division at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on October 21.
The fight was announced by UFC president Dana White on Instagram on Wednesday after Brazilian Paulo Costa was not medically cleared to go into the octagon after a recent surgery on his elbow after an infection. It means Usman is taking the fight on a 10-day notice.
“We got it done,” said UFC CEO Dana White on Instagram. “The No. 4 welterweight in the world, Khamzat Chimaev, is moving up to middleweight and will face the No. 1 welterweight in the world Kamaru Usman.”
A fight between the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ and the Swede has been in the works but a decision has not been reached. Usman had preferred the bout to happen in the welterweight division while Khamzat had insisted that he would rather have the fight in the middleweight class.
Costa not being cleared for the fight has given both fighters well known for their punching power and wrestling prowess to slug it out amongst themselves and find out who is the superior fighter.
Moving to the middleweight means Usman would have to add as much as 15 pounds to his current weight. The middleweight class weighs 185 pounds while the welterweight is at 170 pounds.
Usman is going into the fight as the underdog looking at the short notice in which he’s taking up the fight. Chimaev holds a 12-0 record but has not fought since beating Kevin Holland in September 2022.