Khamzat Chimaev could get a big jump in competition against Demian Maia on UFC Fight Island.
UFC President Dana White said the promotion is currently exploring the possibility of Maia vs. Chimaev, according to MMA Fighting's Jose Youngs.
Chimaev (8-0) is arguably one of UFC's biggest breakout stars in a COVID-19 world. Chimaev has finished his first two UFC fights 10 days apart, beating John Phillips and Rhys McKee. The most stunning statistic is that Chimaev landed 83 strikes across two fights and only absorbed one.
Maia, 42, is undoubtedly an enormous step-up in competition for Chimaev, 26. McKee and Phillips are both unranked fighters; meanwhile, Maia is the seventh-ranked UFC welterweight with an all-time great resume. Maia (28-10) is coming off a loss against UFC welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns but won three-straight prior to that. His collection of scalps includes Ben Askren, Jorge Masvidal, Carlos Condit, Neil Magny, Gunnar Nelson, Matt Brown, Jon Fitch and Chael Sonnen.
It is expected that Chimaev will fight on the Sept. 19 Fight Night card after obtaining a U.S. visa. Chimaev will fight Gerald Meerschaert, per Combate. Should Chimaev win, he will subsequently fight Maia.