In the middleweight division’s co-main event at UFC 294, Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) will take on former welterweight champion Usman (20-3 MMA, 15-2 UFC) at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena. The pay-per-view main card will air at the special time of 2 p.m. ET following prelims on ESPN+.
Originally slated to face Paulo Costa, Chimaev’s opponent was changed to Usman after the Brazilian withdrew due to a staph infection. Chimaev relishes the opportunity to face Usman, as it has been a target of his for some time.
Chimaev shared his thoughts through an interpreter at Wednesday’s media day, stating, “Everyone spoke about Khamzat, Usman, Khamzat, Usman since Day 1 I joined the UFC. Comparisons were made between our wrestling skills and striking abilities. While Usman is a fighter like me, he represents the old version, and I am the new and improved model. It’s comparable to the release of iPhones – he’s iPhone 5, and I am Pro. There’s a difference.”
Usman will attempt to end Chimaev’s unbeaten streak with less than two weeks’ preparation. It’s a formidable task, but Chimaev believes Usman only accepted the fight for the money.
Chimaev expressed, “The guy only wants to make money. There’s a lot of money riding on this. I believe he earns a significant amount whenever someone fights me. It’s a different level of money. That’s why he’s here. Of course, he aims to win the fight; everyone enters the Octagon with that goal. However, he already has excuses in place. He will be paid.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.
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