Plans are already in motion to potentially book a high-profile clash between welterweight contenders Colby Covington and Khamzat Chimaev, but it may not be that easy.
Prior to Chimaev’s showdown with Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 last weekend UFC president Dana White said the promotion is looking into a Covington vs. Chimaev matchup for the next event on ABC. It is unknown at this time when or where that event could take place, but it was a solid plan on paper.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned and it seems like Covington may need a little more than usual to sign the dotted line. According to MMA analyst Chael Sonnen, who is close friends with Covington, “Chaos” may want a title shot lined up if he were able to hand Chimaev his first career defeat.
That usually wouldn’t be a problem considering Covington is ranked No. 1 in the UFC’s welterweight division, but he’s already lost twice to current champion Kamaru Usman. It may be difficult for UFC to promote a third fight, but if Covington defeated Chimaev it could be enough to warrant another shot at gold.
“Getting Colby to the table is not as easy as you guys think,” said Sonnen on his YouTube channel (via SportsKeeda). “The days of Colby being a competitor, anyone anywhere anytime, he lived that life for twenty years. He’s now calculated. There’s things that he wants. Now ABC, yes he’s going to want that. Main event, he’s going to want that. All the attention, all the press of network television, yes he’s going to want that. I just believe in my heart that Colby’s going to need a promise on the back. I think Colby agrees to this contract and signs it today, I really do. IF it’s a number one contender’s match.”
This is mere speculation on Sonnen’s part, but he’s likely not too far off. Covington already believes he’s the best welterweight in the world and would love a chance to fight Usman for a third time. If he brings that to the table and pushes the UFC’s hand in order to get them the matchup they want for Chimaev it could work.
“I’m holding out on behalf of Colby, who I’m very good friends with,” Sonnen added. “I could call him, I just haven’t. I’m talking behind his back, I’m guessing. I know the way he works. There’s going to have to be a little sugar on it.”
What do you think, fight fans? Should Covington get another crack at Usman with a win over Khamzat?