The Khamzat Chimaev story has taken many twists and turns in recent weeks and it looks like the Swede has had a change of heart over moving up to 185lb. Instead, it seems he has his sights focused on Colby Covington.
‘Borz’ reportedly endured a tough weight cut ahead of his proposed showdown with Nate Diaz at UFC 279 and infamously tipped the scale 7.5 lb over the welterweight limit. He was subsequently booked to fight Kevin Holland and proceeded to ‘smesh’ Trailblazer before locking in the submission in less than two and a half minutes.
After being widely criticised for missing, Chimaev tweeted, “185,” having seemingly made the decision to move up.
1 8 5 👊🏼💥 pic.twitter.com/urOK6BPayG
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) September 23, 2022
He now appears to have done a complete 180 on that idea. Unless Covington has decided to make a surprise jump up to middleweight.
Chimaev tagged ‘Chaos’ on twitter and simply wrote ‘next’ with a death emoji. Ominous times.
@ColbyCovMMA next ☠️
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) September 28, 2022
The Chechnya-born destroyer has looked virtually unstoppable throughout his MMA career and has steamrolled through every opponent that he’s faced so far (aside from Gilbert Burns who gave him a war at UFC 273 but lost the unanimous decision.)
Covington, however, could present his toughest test yet. The American is one of the best grapplers at 170lb and perhaps one of the best in the whole organisation. He currently sits at #2 in the welterweight rankings behind former champion Kamaru Usman. The 34-year-old has been sidelined for six months having last fought at UFC 272 in March where he beat long-time rival Jorge Masvidal. He was then rumoured to be suffering with ‘serious injuries’ following an alleged attack by Gamebred as a restaurant.
Assuming he’s soon fit to fight, a win against Covington would no doubt put Chimaev in pole position for a shot at the title, with Usman likely set to rematch Leon Edwards for the belt. And if ‘The Wolf’ does decide to stick to his guns and move up to middleweight; there will be no shortage of big fights for him there either.
Dana White was asked to give his opinion on Chimaev’s future during the Contender Series press conference this week, and said,
“There’s obviously 170 and 185 pounds, there was a big beef today at matchmaking whether he can make 170 pounds, whether we should even let him make 170 pounds again,” White said. “Those are all the things that we’re kicking around right now.”
White reiterated that a big internal debate had taken place as to which weight class Chimaev should be fighting in, before adding,
“I’m in the middle. What does he want to do? Where does he want to be and what does he want to do? Does he want to make 170 and go for the title at 170 or does he want to go to 185 and go for the title there?”
Would you prefer to see Chimaev move up or stay and fight Covington at welterweight?