Former welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, has been confirmed to fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 after Paulo Costa was forced out of the clash due to an injury and Dana White confirmed the Nigerian as his replacement.
The bout had been thrown into doubt when Costa was forced to undergo elbow surgery. Usman will now move up to middleweight, from welterweight, to face Chimaev in a blockbuster UFC clash.
Usman will be making his first appearance in the middleweight division after losing back-to-back title fights to Leon Edwards at welterweight. He had previously held the belt for three years from 2019 to 2022.
It is already the second change to UFC 294’s main event, with Alexander Volkanovski facing Islam Makhachev. Charles Oliveira was forced to withdraw due to a nasty cut he suffered above his eye during sparring.
Usman had always been reluctant about making the move to middleweight as he was not keen to face his compatriot, Israel Adesanya, who is the former two-time middleweight champion.
His reasoning was that it is better to have two Nigerian-born fighters be UFC champions than just one, and perhaps now that neither of them are champions, he has changed his mind.