Khamzat Chimaev, one of the UFC’s budding superstars, has signed a new long-term contract with the promotion.
Chimaev’s manager, Majdi Shammas, told ESPN that Chimaev (12-0) signed the new deal on Tuesday. Chimaev, 29, is set to face former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (20-3) in a middleweight bout at UFC 294 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it will keep Chimaev exclusively inside the Octagon for the foreseeable future. He had two fights remaining on his previous contract before coming to terms on an extension.
UFC president Dana White has stated Saturday’s fight will serve as a No. 1 contender fight at middleweight, meaning the winner will face newly crowned champion Sean Strickland for the belt in his next appearance.
Chimaev, who was born in Chechnya and now fights out of Dubai, has been viewed as a potential future champion in multiple divisions ever since he debuted with the UFC in 2020. He has fought at 170 pounds and 185 pounds.
The UFC booked him a potential showcase fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 279 in September 2022, but Chimaev missed weight badly the day before and was eventually paired with Kevin Holland instead. His only other hiccup in the UFC has been staying active. He was inactive for a year in 2020 due to health complications, and again this year for various reasons.