Paul Craig explains why he prefers to fight Khamzat Chimaev over Bo Nickal

By Andrew Whitelaw - November 16, 2023

Paul Craig has an opportunity to crack the middleweight top-10 when he takes on Brendan Allen in the main event at UFC Fight Night: Allen vs. Craig in Las Vegas.

‘Bearjew’ looked excellent on his 185 lb debut when he knocked out Andre Muniz in July.

As one of the best grapplers in the sport, the veteran has frequently been linked to fighting Bo Nickal – the wrestling prodigy who boasts a 5-0 record with two straight finishes inside the Octagon. However, Craig has his eye on other challenges.

“It’s one of these things like Bo Nickal is one of these guys where he’s got a bit of love people are respecting his wrestling he’s like I can’t take anything away from his wrestling but there’s other guys in front me who I would love to fight – as I said 35, eight fights I want to get as close to the title as I possibly can,” said Craig as he addressed the media during fight week.

“2024 is going to be a year where I’m going to get three fights and I’m going to get close to that title rather than shooting back and I don’t mean it to be disrespectful to Bo Nickal but if you’re not in the the mix and you’re not fighting regularly and you’re not in that top 10 and you’re not working towards getting to that belt then I don’t really want to share the octagon with you,” continued Craig, before adding,

“I want to share the octagon with the guys who are in that top 10 top five guys like Khamzat (Chimaev) who is one of the the best middleweights we’ve seen skill-wise.”

Chimaev has taken the UFC by storm since signing from Brave CF in 2020.

Khamzat Chimaev

Not only has the Swede become a huge star, but he’s also expected to fight for the belt against the winner of Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297. It’s no wonder Craig wants to fight him. The Scot says he was impressed by ‘Borz’s’ performance against former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as UFC 294 but believes he offers a different challenge.

“His last fight against Usman and he he looked great but I believe my skillset against these guys is is different from everybody else in the division,” explained Craig.

“That ability to pull a submission or that ability to lay heavy ground in pound and win a fight is what makes me different for all the other middleweights.”

Do you think Craig would be a good test for Chimaev?



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