Robert Whittaker has shut down the idea of welcoming Khamzat Chimaev to middleweight

Former UFC champion Robert Whittaker doesn’t see Khamzat Chimaev as a possible next opponent ahead of their anticipated returns.

Robert Whittaker remains sidelined since his last win at UFC Paris last September. The former champion wants another shot at Israel Adesanya and another shot at reclaiming the middleweight throne altogether.

Robert Whittaker was supposed to face Paulo Costa earlier this year before Costa withdrew on short notice. The UFC wasn’t able to find a short-notice replacement, leaving Whittaker without a fight in front of the Australian fans in Perth.

A recent addition to the middleweight division is Chimaev, who will likely make the move to 185lbs for his next fight. This comes after a botched weight cut ahead of UFC 279 when he was supposed to face Nate Diaz in the main event.

Since Chimaev and his team first introduced the idea of a full-time move to middleweight, a fight with Whittaker has been discussed. Chimaev hasn’t fought at middleweight during his UFC tenure since a win over Gerald Meerschaert in Sept. 2020.

Robert Whittaker: Khamzat Chimaev Needs To Work His Way Up MW Ladder

During a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Whittaker explained why a fight with Chimaev won’t happen next.

“Chimaev isn’t in the division rankings,” Whittaker said. “I’m not a huge fan of guys just sliding in, fighting wherever they want. It’s a different place. The rankings are there for a reason. I like fighting Top 5 guys, that’s just where I’m at…because they’re the guys who are the best of the best. Well-earned, worked their way through the division to get there.

“It’s so much harder to work your way through a division than to just slide in at the top,” Whittaker continued. “There are a lot of dudes in the Top 20 that would give [Alex Pereira] a hard time, much more of a hard time than [Israel Adesanya], and that’s the truth. There are some dudes in there that would give Chimaev a run for his money, and that isn’t for a title. That’s why I like these guys that are in the Top 5, because they’ve worked their way up, much like I did. You beat all these contenders and I like that, it’s a system that we have and should be respected.”

A fight between Costa and Chimaev is allegedly targeted for UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi. This still leaves Whittaker without an opponent, although he also expressed interest in a matchup with Dricus du Plessis.

Paulo Costa has hilariously jibed at Khamzat Chimaev, labeling himself as a 'Chad' and referring to Chimaev as a 'virgin'

Robert Whittaker defeated former title challenger Marvin Vettori after losing a close title rematch to Adesanya at UFC 271. During his UFC middleweight run, his only two losses have come against Adesanya.

Chimaev is unbeaten in his professional career, with recent wins over Kevin Holland and Gilbert Burns. While a return to welterweight is unlikely for him next, he’s teased a matchup against Leon Edwards for the title.

Whittaker, like Chimaev, made the full-time move from welterweight to middleweight in the middle of his UFC tenure. He wants to see Chimaev work his way into the title picture just like he did earlier in his career.

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