Eugene Bareman Talks Israel Adesanya vs. Khamzat Chimaev. What ‘Borz’ Needs To Do To Get The Fight.
City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman is not impressed with the notion of Khamzat Chimaev receiving a title shot at 185lbs.
During a recent interview with Submission Radio, Bareman was asked about future challengers for UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya. One of the names dropped was rising star Chimaev.
Bareman was quick to take issue with “Borz,” citing his inactivity at 185lbs as a key problem. The Chechen warrior has mostly competed at welterweight, and hasn’t competed at middleweight since September 2020.
The New Zealander explained that giving Khamzat Chimaev a title fight right off the bat would set a bad precedent for the UFC and lower the title’s prestige.
“Has Khamzat fought at middleweight yet?” Bareman asked. “Because we can’t be ridiculous. This is the most prestigious title in the sport okay? Sometimes, business takes precedent, I understand that, but you can’t like- you’re going to give a guy a title shot? Like you’re just devaluing the organization, you’re devaluing the sport, you’re devaluing everything we’ve stood for in terms of the middleweight title and what we’ve done, and what Anderson [Silva]’s done, what GSP’s done, what Bisping’s done when he won the title, you’re just devaluing all of that.”
“I’m Not Arguing Against Fighting Khamzat” – Eugene Bareman On Israel Adesanya vs. Khamzat Chimaev
In the same interview, Bareman was asked what it would take for Khamzat Chimaev to be deemed worthy of a shot. The City Kickboxing coach made clear ‘Borz’ would have to fight a few middleweight opponents first with a humorous reference to Alex Pereira’s rise through the divisional rankings.
Bareman explained that he has no issue with Chimaev as a fighter, and considers him a “high-level” competitor. However, until he has established his footing in the heavier division, Bareman simply doesn’t see him being a worthy challenger to “The Last Stylebender.”
“At the minimum, fight three guys that no one’s ever heard of like Pereira, that seems to be obviously, but I mean, I’m not arguing against fighting Khamzat,” Bareman explained. “Khamzat would be a great fight; he’s a big name, he’s a challenge, and we’re all about challenges, he brings us high-level MMA… But I’m arguing for the prestige, I’m arguing for the UFC, for the brand.”