Morning Report: Bo Nickal questions potential Khamzat Chimaev title shot, says ‘he’s fought less ‘85ers than me’

It’s an interesting time atop the UFC middleweight division.

The 185-pound title has become somewhat of a hot potato after a recent rotation of champions. Over the past two years, longtime title holder Israel Adesanya lost the belt to Alex Pereira, won it back then dropped it again, the second time to Sean Strickland. The new titlist Strickland wasn’t able to hang on to it either, however, as he lost a split decision to Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297 two weekends ago. Now, it’s a matter of where the division goes next.

Du Plessis is open to returning relatively quickly for his first title defense, targeting the historic UFC 300 date on April 13. Should that happen, it seems the top two options to fight are the aforementioned Adesanya and the undefeated 13-0 superstar, Khamzat Chimaev. Also fighting that fight will be the rising prospect Bo Nickal who’s lined up to fight Cody Brundage. From his seat, Nickal is as uncertain about the title scene as the rest of us.

“They’d been talking about giving Khamzat [Chimaev] the title [fight], but Khamzat’s been hurt, he’s been sick, he’s messed up in the hospital, broke his hand, all this crazy stuff,” Nickal said on his YouTube channel. “So, I don’t know. Other guys that are coming up at ‘85 … there’s really not that many guys. I don’t even know who’s really getting up there that could fight for the belt at ‘85.

“There’s good guys but not very many win streaks. Not very many guys that are putting themselves in that position. I would guess that they do Adesanya.”

Neither Adesanya nor Chimaev have the strongest case to challenge next as Adesanya hasn’t fought since the Strickland loss while Chimaev has only recently returned to 185 pounds. That appearance came opposite former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, which Chimaev won via majority decision at UFC 294 this past October.

Chimaev, 29, expressed some frustration with his situation last week, saying he was promised a title fight would be his next. “Borz” went as far as to call it “bulls***” if he does indeed get passed over

Chimaev has rarely been on the receiving end of callouts since his UFC arrival in 2020 … unless your name is Nickal. A Chimaev vs. Nickal matchup would be an absolute wrestler’s delight if it comes to fruition in the future. Both men have been as dominant as they could hope for thus far at each point of their careers. The 5-0 (2-0 in UFC) Penn State alum still hopes for it one day, and couldn’t help but laugh when comparing each other at this current juncture.

“Dude, they’re gonna give Khamzat the title shot for sure at some point,” Nickal said. “I don’t think he’s gonna have to fight again until he gets a title shot. Do I think he deserves that? No. He hasn’t fought a single ‘85er. He’s fought less ‘85ers than me. My opponents aren’t even on the roster anymore (laughs).

Brendan Allen’s won a few in a row but he’s not deserving of a title shot. [Paulo] Costa and [Robert] Whittaker [are fighting]. I don’t think either of those guys gets a title shot with this win. Whittaker just lost to Du Plessis and Costa beat Luke Rockhold in his last fight, but he hasn’t fought in like two years. If Khamzat would have beat Costa then it’s like, okay, easy. No problem. He beat Usman who’s 170 and had five days to get ready. So, I don’t know that he deserves a title shot. It would be a good fight, I’d like to see it, but I don’t know.”

Maybe. Conor McGregor teases UFC 300 fight, Michael Chandler responds

Mess. ONE 165 results: Shinya Aoki taps late-notice replacement John Lineker in openweight fight

Upset. Neil Magny knew UFC wanted Mike Malott to win: ‘It was very evident what the game plan was

Wishful. Ryan Bader, Renan Ferreira expect winner of their fight to welcome Francis Ngannou to PFL

Follow-Up. Jon Anik issues apology for MMA fan criticism: ‘I was in a heightened emotional state’

Roundtable. How do you rate the UFC 300 lineup so far?

Character? Dricus du Plessis claims Sean Strickland admitted defeat at UFC 297: ‘You definitely beat me’

Repercussions. Jasmine Jasudavicius didn’t enjoy making Priscila Cachoeira bleed, but punished her for missing weight

Matchup. Anthony Joshua calls Francis Ngannou boxing match ‘my undisputed title fight

Transition. Miesha Tate cautions Kayla Harrison on bantamweight move: ‘135 is going to really suck the life out of her

Forgotten. Leah McCourt ‘frustrated’ at being ignored for Cris Cyborg fight

MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin chats with Max Holloway.

UFC Vegas 85 Promo.

Free fights.

Best of 2023.

Volk’s camp.

Conditioning with Wonderboy.

Fight week.

Might as well be.






Eagle vs. Duck.


They grow up so fast.

Water kicks.

Fujino just might fight forever.


Gotta start somewhere.

That is Faber-level gnarly.

I still don’t know.



Jessica Andrade (25-12) vs. Marina Rodriguez (17-3-2); UFC 300, April 13

Well, Bo ain’t wrong. It’s also funny because I think Costa beating Whittaker would certainly be justifiable for the shot. At the same time, Jared Cannonier is just floating around out there.

Thanks for reading!

Last Week’s Results:

Friday: 60% of 559 total votes answered “Justin Gaethje” when asked, “Who has the best chance of facing Islam Makhachev with a win at UFC 300?

Thursday: 61% of 366 total votes answered “Kayla Harrison” when asked, “Which Cris Cyborg matchup was/is more interesting to you?

Wednesday: 43% of 445 total votes answered “Depends on the outcome of the Justin Gaethje fight” when asked, “Which division should Max Holloway fight in after UFC 300?

Tuesday: 63% of 599 total votes answered “Tom Aspinall” when asked, “If Jon Jones vs. Tom Aspinall was booked to happen next for each, who would win?

Monday: 63% of 517 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Do you have any interest in an eventual Sean Strickland vs. Ian Machado Garry matchup?

Today’s exit poll:


Who does Dricus Du Plessis fight first?

  • 0%

    Israel Adesanya

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Khamzat Chimaev

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Neither (he’ll never end up fighting them)

    (0 votes)

0 votes total

Vote Now

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