Prior to his victory at this past weekend’s UFC 294 pay-per-view event, undefeated star Khamzat Chimaev experienced quite the turbulent time regarding his opponent.
In Abu Dhabi, “Borz” returned to action at middleweight after a weight miss last September spelled the end of his time at 170 pounds for now. On the first step of his pursuit of title glory at the higher weight, Chimaev was originally slated to do battle with former title challenger Paulo Costa.
After suffering from an infected bursa on his right elbow that required multiple surgeries, “Borrachinha” was forced out on late notice. In his place came ex-welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who debuted at 185 pounds on October 21.
That matchup successfully reached the Octagon and ultimately fell the way of Chimaev, who seemingly secured a shot at Sean Strickland’s belt by outpointing “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
As it turns out, though, Usman wasn’t the first choice when it came to Costa’s replacement. A report from ESPN detailing the late changes to the UFC 294 lineup revealed that UFC CEO Dana White had actually recorded a video announcing Jared Cannonier vs. Chimaev.
Lightning struck twice for the Chechen-born UAE representative, however, with “The Killa Gorilla” suffering an injury shortly after accepting. But according to Cannonier himself, the UFC didn’t exactly take his word for it…
Cannonier Reveals UFC Doubted ‘Legitimacy’ Of Injury
During a recent appearance on Submission Radio, Cannonier spoke about his short-lived matchup with Chimaev and revealed that a torn MCL rendered him unable to make the trip to Abu Dhabi.
“The Killa Gorilla” sent proof the way of the promotion when it happened 11 days out from UFC 294. While some may say that shouldn’t have been necessary, in this instance, it evidently was.
“They haven’t said anything about it (what’s next when I return),” Cannonier said. “I would hope that my standing is still in play, because I know they were scrambling trying to find somebody to take this fight. And there might have been some disagreement — well not disagreement, some questioning as to the legitimacy of my injury. Yeah, (from the UFC).
“I showed them the proof. I guess people would naturally think, ‘Oh, you didn’t wanna take the fight and also you’re injured all of a sudden?'” Cannonier continued. “Nah, that’s not me. No, never that. That’s not what I’m here for. That’s not who I am. And you know what? I wasn’t even saying, ‘You’ll have to pay me a million dollars to fight him.’ I stuck to my stance from the start, give me the title shot.”
Such doubts from the UFC’s higher-ups would no doubt serve as an insult to plenty of fighters. Cannonier, for one, notable fought through a broken arm during his fight against Robert Whittaker back in 2020.
The latest injury suffered by Cannonier was also severe enough to force him out of his original booking against Roman Dolidze at the UFC Fight Night in Austin, Texas, on December 2.
With Jared out, Whittaker, Costa, Chimaev, Marvin 2, Bo Nickal or any good name⁉️⏳
Or everybody say “Smash” just stay in words?!
— Roman Dolidze (@romandolidzeufc) October 23, 2023
- Read Also: Jared Cannonier Thanks Joe Rogan For Recognition Amid ‘Bunch Of Morons’ Discounting Him In MW Title Picture
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