Jack Hermansson on Khamzat’s return to 185 lbs: ”He’s got a HUGE frame”
UFC president Dana White has made it clear that Khamzat Chimaev will be fighting at middleweight next, despite the fact that “Borz” is currently ranked No. 3 at welterweight. The move to a heavier division could be a permanent one for the rising star, considering he’s admitted that the cut has become increasingly difficult as he’s gotten older. Khamzat notably missed weight ahead of his intended fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 279.
No. 10 ranked middleweight Jack Hermansson believes a permanent move to middleweight would only benefit his previous training partner Khamzat.
”It’s one hundred percent the right choice,” Hermansson told MMAnytt (translated from Swedish). ”He’ll never make welterweight again. Or, he could, but when you see people miss weight you see them have problems over and over and over again.
”Everybody that’s just barely able to make it down to the weight limit… When they suddenly start having problems it gets super difficult to get down and push your body like that again. And Khamzat isn’t a small middleweight, either. He’s got a huge frame. Long arms – he’s tall, taller than me – and definitely physically strong enough to be in middleweight. So I don’t see any reason for him to force himself down to welterweight.”
A bout between Khamzat and Paulo Costa is currently rumoured to be in the works for UFC 294. Another possible opponent for Khamzat’s return to middleweight is the former champion Robert Whittaker. Hermansson is convinced that Khamzat has what it takes to succeed at 185 lbs, but also expects a few tough fights.
”It depends on the matchup. There are a few matchups that are tough, but then there are also a few that would work nicely. Khamzat is at a high level. I don’t expect that he’ll tear through everybody; there will be tough fights. But he’s someone that could beat anybody on a good day. I really do believe that.
”One fight that would be super exciting is Whittaker versus Khamzat. Whittaker has like the world’s best takedown defence and is incredibly good at distance control. He keeps a good distance when he fights and is a great striker. That would be a super fun fight.”
Khamzat Chimaev defeated Jack Hermansson in a wrestling match in 2021
Hermansson and Khamzat are previous training partners. They’ve also faced each other in an exciting freestyle wrestling match that took place in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2021. Khamzat is a three-time Swedish national champion in freestyle wrestling and that experience showed in the match against Hermansson, who is more of a grappler than a pure wrestler.
A rematch in grappling is something that the Oslo-based Swede would be interested in!
”I’m a slow starter and he just goes so hard right from the start,” Hermansson said about their match. ”He doesn’t need any time at all to get into it. You can see that in his UFC fights as well – he just gets going immediately!
”I would love to meet him in a grappling match instead. Twenty minutes submission only, for example. Or no time limit. That would actually be super fun.”
Considering they’ll soon be competing in the same weight class, Hermansson is also open to meeting Khamzat in the octagon if necessary.
”We’ve trained together and have a good relationship, but if we get in the way of each other and are both moving up, then why not? I would take the fight!”