Jared Cannonier accepted a fight with Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294. That would have gone down this past weekend, but Cannonier suffered an injury shortly after agreeing to replace Paulo Costa. Instead, Chimaev went on to defeat former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the co-main event.
Jared Cannonier Far From Impressed By Khamzat Chimaev At UFC 294
In fact, the 39-year-old accepted the bout and was ready to replace Paulo Costa.
However, shortly after doing so, Cannonier suffered an injury himself and was forced to pass on the opportunity. Chimaev went on to defeat former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the co-main event.
The decision victory, though, did not impress Cannonier.
“Congratulations on his acquisition of his shot. It is what it is, I guess,” Cannonier said during a recent interview with Submission Radio. “Do I think he deserves a title shot? I feel like you gotta fight middleweights to fight for the middleweight title. And he has yet to fight a middleweight in the last couple of years.
“He hasn’t even fought a ranked middleweight. Don’t wanna take anything away from Usman. I’m not saying that Usman can’t come up here and do his thing in middleweight.
“That hasn’t been. Usman hasn’t fought at middleweight. So, Chimaev didn’t fight a middleweight. So, he doesn’t really get a middleweight title. That’s just common sense.
“But there’s that entertainment aspect of this thing that nobody wants to talk about, but it’s obviously there. And that’s been pulling a lot of these strings. So, we need to pull the skirt down on this thing and call it what it is. You know what I mean? That’s all it is.
“Chimaev isn’t the best in the world. He’s only as good as the night he’s fighting. He’s only better than the guy he’s fighting. And I’m sure he would disagree with me if you were to ask him. Or maybe not, I don’t know.
“They asked him something similar leading up to this fight, and he wanted to reserve his answer. But I feel like I’m the best in the world. I feel like I can beat any and all these guys.”
Following a 2022 loss to then-champion Israel Adesanya, Cannonier returned with a split decision over Sean Strickland. A few months later, Strickland would go on to defeat Adesanya for the title, while Cannonier topped Marvin Vettori live on ESPN in the main event.
Jared Cannonier Looking At Surgery As He Nears 40
Now, the soon-to-be 40-year-old must sit and recover before he can step back into contention.
“I probably won’t be fighting again for five months, is what the doctor told me. So, I’ll be 40 by the time I fight again. Which is a milestone for me,” he said. “So, yeah, did the MRI. I’m scheduled to have surgery on it this Thursday, actually. So, the fight in December is not going to happen, and the UFC knows this.
“I’ve already told them, they already know. We’re working on getting the insurance and all this stuff done. So, I guess this is the official thing and official breaking news – If there’s ever been breaking news with my name in it. But there could have been this past weekend. There would have been. There would have been for sure. But that’s life, man. That’s where I’m at. I’m not even as mad about the injury. Injuries happen in this sport.
“It’s just the timing of it, man. That’s what hurts most about it. But, I’m not going to sit here and try to hang on to this moment and wish I could have and wish I would have. I’m gonna focus on recovery, focus on what I can get better.”