Ariel Helwani dropped a potential bombshell on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, revealing that the UFC is frantically working to put together a welterweight title clash between reigning champion Leon Edwards and undefeated Chechen monster Khamzat Chimaev for the UFC 300 main event.
After making a series of fast and furious announcements regarding April 13th’s massive landmark event in Las Vegas, UFC CEO Dana White has gone radio silent. According to Helwani, the promotion knows which fight they want to announce for the highly anticipated headliner, but securing Chimaev’s entry into the United States is becoming increasingly difficult.
“If the UFC had their way… If they could snap their fingers and make the biggest fight in their mind happen — and the fight that they’ve been working on happen — and have their say as to what is the main event for UFC 300, I think that they would make Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev. I believe when Dana White is talking bout the hurdles and the issues, I believe that’s about securing Khamzat’s ability to fight in the United States.
“This has been rumored for quite some time that he has issues coming over to the States. The last time he fought here was in Jacksonville almost two years ago. I believe that’s been part of the holdup. If they can’t secure that matchup, I believe they would look at Khamzat vs. [Dricus Du Plessis], but I think the top choice is Leon vs. Khamzat.”
Chimaev’s struggles to obtain a temporary work visa could be related to his close relationship with the Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. Frequently employing totalitarian and repressive tactics in his rule, Kadyrov has come under criticism for a wide array of human rights abuses, including forced disappearance, torture, assassinations, and anti-gay purges in his country. He has also played a role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Depending on how things play out with Khamzat Chimaev, the UFC has a few contingency plans in place according to Helwani. Aside from the heavily rumored middleweight title tilt between the newly crowned king of the division — Dricus Du Plessis — and former two-time champ Israel Adesanya, the UFC is also keeping a potential 170-pound showdown between Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad in its back pocket.