Khamzat Chimaev: Colby Covington would be ‘amazing’ fight, but he disappeared when UFC tried to book matchup
Khamzat Chimaev has his eyes on middleweight and beyond, but isn’t necessarily done with 170 pounds.
Before jumping up to 185 pounds, the undefeated Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) says he would take two more fights in the welterweight division: Colby Covington and then a title shot.
Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) recently claimed Chimaev turned down a fight against him, but the Chechnya-born fighter says he has accepted multiple fights with big names – Covington included. Chimaev said current middleweight champion Alex Pereira and former title holder Robert Whittaker were also on the shortlist of potential opponents.
“Colby, they call me many times,” Chimaev said on The MMA Hour. “Do you accept the fight here? Do you accept the fight there? I said, ‘Yes, yes.’ I had a conversation with Sean Shelby when Alex Pereira won the fight (against Israel Adesanya), I told him, ‘Let me fight with that guy in Brazil.’ He said, ‘Come on, let’s go brother.’ Then after he said, ‘No, brother, we’ll fight Colby.’ I said OK, we have to go with Colby, but it never happened.”
According to Chimaev, this was around the time UFC president Dana White began publicly stating he wanted him to move up to middleweight due to a severe weight miss at UFC 279, which caused a chaotic shuffling of bouts just hours before the event. Then, Covington started talking trash.
“When we sent him contract and the UFC wanted to make that match, he was quiet,” Chimaev said. “He didn’t talk about nothing. He disappeared. Now he’s coming back and when I move up, he starts talking about me.”
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Chimaev said he was never given a clear reason why the fight never came together, but believes Covington’s legal issues with Jorge Masvidal may have played a part.
“UFC wanted it, and why didn’t it happen?” Chimaev said. “Somebody said no. I know it’s not me. I go out in the media that time and he was quiet. I showed for everyone I want to fight with Colby. I posted the pictures on Instagram, and Twitter and everywhere I spoke about it, I wanted to make that show.
“That will be an amazing fight. A lot of people are going to watch that fight, because the guy makes a show. And yeah, people don’t like him because he lies too much, but still, he’s a fighter. For me, an easy fight.”
It appears the UFC has their minds made up on whats next for Covington after he weighed in as an alternate for the UFC 286 title fight. At the post-fight press conference, White stated Covington is next in line for a title shot, which did not sit well with some of his peers. Chimaev, on the other hand, was not bothered.
“I don’t care about that sh*t,” Chimaev said. “I’m here to make money and be happy, and make my family feel good. They can do whatever they want. I’m never going to lose my fight. If they never gonna give me the belt, a title fight, I’m never going to lose a fight. What are they going to do? I’ll be the pound-for-pound without the belt. Best fighter in the world. Become pound-for-pound No. 1 without belt.”