Khamzat Chimaev will finally return to the octagon in October.
The undefeated welterweight prospect has agreed to face Li Jingliang at UFC 267 on Oct. 30, multiple people with knowledge of the booking told MMA Fighting following a report from Octagon Bet. The pay-per-view card is expected to take place in Abu Dhabi.
The Chechnya native became an overnight sensation after demolishing John Phillips in his octagon debut on Fight Island and facing Rhys McKee just 10 days later, winning another one-sided beatdown. Chimaev then improved to 9-0 with a 17-second knockout of Gerald Meerschaert.
Chimaev was expected to face Demian Maia next, but was ultimately booked against Leon Edwards for December 2020. The match-up was postponed after Edwards tested positive for COVID-19. Chimaev, who was also infected by the novel coronavirus, was sidelined for months due to lingering effects of the disease and even contemplated retirement.
The 27-year-old now faces his highest-ranked opponent to date in Li (18-6), a Chinese welterweight who has knocked out Santiago Ponzinibbio inside one round in his most recent octagon appearance this past January. “The Leech” has won eight of his past 10 in the UFC with seven knockouts and five post-fight bonuses.