Everything that could have been done to make UFC 279 the biggest night of his career so far was done, but Khamzat kind of blew it by showing up 3.5 kilograms overweight before his match against Nate Diaz. Although he defeated replacement opponent Kevin Holland, the huge blemish was that fall at the official weigh-in.
A certain section of the public began to say that it was all set up, but an also interesting theory is the one put forth by the fighter and former middleweight challenger, Paulo Costa. He believes that Chimaev simply "cracked" under pressure and that this prevented him from fulfilling his obligations immediately before the fight itself.
“It was crazy – I think he was so disturbed in his mind,” Costa told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “I think he lost his mind, with all these crazy things that happened with him in the week. I think there was a lot of pressure above him and behind him, because he’s a little bit new at this, and to do a big fight against the legend Nate Diaz was not easy for him.
So I think he lost his mind a little bit. It’s a lot of distractions for him”. “I think he should move to 185, to middleweight division, because it’s hard to make 170 for him, on that stage,” Costa said.
“You know, your body changes. It’s never the same. Maybe you change for bad, maybe you change for better, but I think he needs to put a lot of [effort] to make that weight and I think it’s a big problem for him right now.
Maybe he cannot do this anymore”. he concluded.
Costa is willing to fight Chimaev
“I’d like [to fight him] but I don’t really think this will happen because he avoids fighting me,” Costa said.
“He doesn’t want to fight me. He just wants to fight small guys, smaller than him, you know? And guys who have no wrestling, have no takedown defense, have no power to f*** him up. “He knows who I am and even him, his coach, his managers, the guys don’t want that fight.
The guys want to fight Kevin Holland, small guys, Gilbert [Burns]. And I appreciate those guys, Gilbert and Holland, but he chooses who he wants to fight”.