UFC president Dana White declared Chimaev the No. 1 contender if he beats Nate Diaz at UFC 279 on Sept. 10, but after Edwards (20-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) dethroned champion Kamaru Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) with a stunning head kick this past Saturday at UFC 278, a trilogy is expected.
So where does that leave Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC)? Cormier thinks he might now need one more win after Diaz for a shot at the title.
“I think last weekend he did not understand that he was the biggest loser in the Usman vs. Leon situation, because he was in line,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel. “All he had to do was get past Diaz. All he had to do, get past Diaz, you fight for the championship, but with Leon Edwards winning now, now we got a trilogy and rightfully so.
“That leads to the question: What is this fight for? I feel like for Diaz, this fight’s for legacy. I feel like for Chimaev, this is just another scalp on his resume, because I don’t know if this win necessarily puts him closer than he already is to a championship fight. And, because of the result last weekend, he’ll need one more. I just wonder who that one more is going to come against. If he beats Diaz, does he get Covington next?”
White was interested in booking Chimaev against Covington after he beat Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 in April. Covington hasn’t competed since defeating former best friend-turned foe Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272 in March, but White said the UFC is currently planning his next fight.
Covington was allegedly attacked by Masvidal outside a Miami Beach restaurant just weeks after beating him. According to the police report, Covington fractured a tooth and suffered a wrist abrasion. “Gamebred” was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and criminal mischief. His pre-trial hearing is slated for Aug. 31.
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