Despite the fact that Chimaev defeated the former welterweight champion by a considerable margin on the judges’ scorecards, Costa expressed that he did not see anything special about the victory, pointing specifically to how much smaller Usman is than Chimaev as well as the fact that ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ was coming into this fight on short notice.
Being the original opponent to take on Chimaev at UFC 294, before needing to pull out due to an injury, it is expected for Costa to criticize the performance negatively. He added that if the original plan for the co-main event had moved forward, he would have had no problem finishing Chimaev.
"Chimaev looked horrible. Three rounds of horrible."
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) October 22, 2023
“It was not good,” Costa said. “It was worse after watching the fight. The fight was horrible. Khamzat Chimaev looks horrible. Three rounds of horrible. He fought a 170 guy from short notice – the guy who don’t even fight at 185. Usman is a legit 170. Khamzat tried to finish him in the first round – he couldn’t. Then he gets out. Then I truly believe Usman beat him for the next two rounds. So what can I say about that, bro? He looked terrible.
“I became a little bit more sad than before because I just thought, I could’ve finished this motherf*cker easy. Easy money. He’s easy money. He’s so green. He’s an immature fighter. He put all his energy in the first round. If he cannot finish the guy, he’s done. I truly believe if Usman had just a couple more weeks of training, two more weeks in his fight camp, he could’ve beat him. I actually believe at least he got a draw.”
Now that Chimaev has made it past Usman, who is widely considered one of the best welterweights of all time, he has been promised an opportunity to fight for Sean Strickland’s middleweight championship title. However, Strickland does not feel that he has earned a shot at the title, voicing similar thoughts as Paulo Costa with regard to Usman’s size and the short notice on which he accepted the fight.
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) October 22, 2023
“The only thing I like about Chimaev is that he sells fights,” Strickland said on UFC Fight Pass. “For some reason, people f*cking like him or don’t like him. I don’t know. To me, he’s a f*cking paycheck. He sells a lot of fights. People pay to watch, but he f*cking hasn’t earned it.
“He hasn’t f*cking deserved it, but here we are. Give it to him. He sells a lot of fights. I’ll go fight the f*cking man for five rounds. But no, he’s not earned it. He doesn’t f*cking deserve it. Getting a decision with a welterweight off the couch is not f*king earning it.”
Regardless of how the other competitors involved feel about the situation, the fact remains that Khamzat Chimaev made a notable addition to his resume this past weekend, and he will certainly be a tough stylistic matchup for Strickland.