If Khamzat Chimaev can come out on top at UFC 279., Dana White will almost certainly name him the top contender.
If welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is successful in defending his championship against Leon Edwards this Saturday at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, then the unbeaten Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) will get his crack at the title shot on September 10 in the main event against Nate Diaz (20-13 MMA, 18-12 UFC).
“It’s fair,” White told reporters, on Tuesday night. “I don’t ever do that sh*t, but yeah, it’s fair to say if he wins, that’s the fight to make. (Usman has) already beat everybody twice in the top whatever, so yeah, that makes sense.”
After beating Edwards, Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC) said that he would go up to light heavyweight and compete for the championship if he won. White doesn’t support the decision, but he acknowledges that Usman has earned the right to make his own choices in life.
“You know what doesn’t make sense? 205. But you know what? Look what the guy has done. He said, ‘I want to go fight at 205.’ What am I gonna do? What am I gonna tell him, right? Why would you not give him the opportunity?”
White is aware of the magnitude of a bout between Usman and Chimaev, but he believes that people are wrong to discount the abilities of Edwards and Diaz.
“I did a bunch of media today, and everybody’s counting Nate Diaz out,” White said. “These are the kind of stories – it’s almost like you just saying to me earlier, it’s like people are counting Leon Edwards out. You can’t count anybody out. In this sport, you never know what’s going to happen. Anything is possible.”