Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) defeated short-notice replacement Usman (20-4 MMA, 15-3 UFC) by majority decision in their middleweight bout at UFC 294 last month. After a strong first round, Chimaev slowed down, which allowed Usman back in the fight.
Former UFC welterweight champion Usman stepped in on less than two weeks’ notice in a weight class above. Masvidal believes, after that performance, Chimaev would struggle against the upper echelon of the middleweight division.
“He hasn’t fought anybody at 185,” Masvidal told MMA Mania. “I’m not trying to diss him, but he’s not a ranked ’85 player. He’s a great 170-pound fighter, but he’s not ranked at 185. You put him in there with a lot of these guys (middleweights), I think they’ll f*cking hurt him.”
Masvidal recalls running into Usman on a night out right before he was offered the fight. “Gamebred” is confident Usman would have finished Chimaev if he had more time to prepare.
“Funny story: Right before he took that fight, it hasn’t happened too often, but I saw Kamaru Usman out,” Masvidal said. “It was the craziest stuff ever. I was walking into this establishment, I had my shades on and somebody goes, ‘Jorge Masvidal, what’s up?’ I go, ‘Man, that voice sounds f*cking familiar.’ I turned around, this is at 4:30 in the f*cking morning, bro. It’s Usman’s ass, and he’s got glasses too. What the f*ck? I look, I must have lost my f*cking mind. I lift them (glasses) up and I go, ‘Usman?’ And he goes, ‘What’s up, Masvidal?’ This motherf*cker, bro.
“That was literally the day before he got the announcement for the fight. So I just want to say if that guy has like five, six weeks to prepare for Chimaev, he takes him out. Guaranteed. He knocks his ass dead.”
UFC CEO Dana White said Chimaev’s win over Usman earned him a title shot against middleweight champion Sean Strickland, but that won’t come until he heals from a torn ligament in his hand, which Chimaev said he suffered in Round 1 against Usman.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.
This story originally appeared on MMA Junkie