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Khamzat Chimaev could fight again before the end of 2020, but it appears that Demian Maia is no longer the targeted opponent.
According to a recent report from Combate, Maia is out of negotiations for a welterweight clash with the surging prospect. Instead, the UFC is hoping to book former 170-pound title challenger Stephen Thompson against Chimaev for the headliner of a Fight Night card on Dec. 19. If the matchup with “Wonderboy” doesn’t come to fruition, the Las Vegas-based promotion is targeted Leon Edwards as an alternative option for Chimaev, per the report.
UFC president Dana White briefly addressed Chimaev’s status during the UFC 253 post-fight press conference on Saturday night. In doing so, he confirmed that a bout with Thompson is on the table while completely dismissing the Edwards rumors.
“The Leon Edwards [rumor] is not true, but we’ve offered it to ‘Wonderboy,’” White said. ‘Wonderboy’ wants to fight Leon Edwards, so we’ll see how this plays out. That’s completely not true. Leon Edwards is not lined up to fight Khamzat. We were looking at ‘Wonderboy,’ and ‘Wonderboy’ wants Leon.” We’re nowhere on that thing.
In a separate report, ESPN also confirmed that the UFC has moved away from Maia as a prospective opponent for Chimaev.
Anchored at Allstars Training Center in Sweden, the 26-year-old Chimaev has emerged as one of the UFC’s fastest rising stars in 2020. The Brave Combat Federation veteran began his promotional tenure with dominant stoppages of John Phillips and Rhys McKee in less than two weeks’ time in July before knocking out Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds in his most recent outing at UFC Fight Night 178 on Sept. 19.
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