Khamzat Chimaev doesn’t see Paulo Costa getting past Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291.
Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is booked to face Aliskerov (14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) on July 29 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
Chimaev handed Aliskerov his first and only loss when he knocked him out with an uppercut in 2019 in what was just the fifth professional fight of Chimaev’s career. Aliskerov since has won six straight and most recently scored a first-round knockout of Phil Hawes in his promotional debut at UFC 288.
Former title challenger Costa is considered a big step up in competition for Aliskerov, but Chimaev sees the Sambo champion getting his hand raised. Chimaev and Costa were on a collision course – even getting into an altercation at the UFC Performance Institute, but were never booked to fight.
“Paulo has spoken a lot of sh*t about me,” Chimaev said on his YouTube channel. “That guy, I want to smash him. I want to kill this guy. I was doing a lot of things, and he wants to fight with the other guy. The guy, I fought him a long time before – three or four years ago, before UFC. I win against that guy.
“I think the guy will beat him, as well. Paulo is not good. He is sh*t. He just talks too much. He beat nobody. A close fight against Romero, only fighter he wins against. Other people, I don’t know. Nobody knows these guys. I don’t know who he beat.”
Chimaev has called out just about every top-ranked contender and champion at 170 and 185 pounds, but currently is zoning in on former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman for a showdown at UFC 294 on Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 291.