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Sean Strickland: Khamzat Chimaev ‘Doesn’t F—-ing Deserve’ Middleweight Title Shot



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As one might expect, Sean Strickland is quite outspoken on the subject of the UFC middleweight division’s new No. 1 contender.

Khamzat Chimaev made his 185-pound debut at UFC 294, where he defeated ex-welterweight king Kamaru Usman in Saturday’s co-main event at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Even though he hasn’t beaten anyone in the middleweight rankings, the victory was presumably enough to assure Chimaev of a title shot. At least, that’s what UFC CEO Dana White promised ahead of the fight.

In an interview on the UFC Fight Pass “Extra Rounds” show, Strickland questioned Chimaev’s credentials as a No. 1 contender in his new weight class. Of course, that doesn’t mean Strickland will try and deny Chimaev of his opportunity.

“The only thing I like about Chimaev is that he sells fights,” Strickland said. “For some reason, people f—king like him or don’t like him. I don’t know. To me, he’s a f—king paycheck. He sells a lot of fights. People pay to watch, but he f—king hasn’t earned it.

“He doesn’t f—-ing deserve it, but here we are. Give it to him. He sells a lot of fights. I’ll go fight the f—ing man for five rounds. But no, he’s not earned it. He doesn’t f—king deserve it. Getting a decision with a welterweight off the couch is not f—ing earning it.”

Strickland claimed the middleweight throne with a shocking upset victory against Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 in September. Before Strickland stepped in against “The Last Stylebender,” Dricus Du Plessis was supposed to be next in line to receive a title shot. However, the South African contender wasn’t healthy enough to face Adesanya at UFC 293 after defeating Robert Whittaker in July.

Chimaev revealed after UFC 294 that he might have broken his hand in the opening round against Usman. The extent of that injury is currently unknown, and it’s also unclear if it would affect a potential Strickland vs. Chimaev booking.
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