Khamzat Chimaev likes his chances against Colby Covington, to say the least.
Despite Covington being one of the welterweight division’s top-ranked fighters and already having two competitive title challenges on his resume, “Borz” is convinced that Covington would be an easy night at the office were they to be matched up.
UFC President Dana White announced this past weekend that Covington is next to face champion Leon Edwards, which came as a surprise to many, including Chimaev who recently claimed that Covington avoided multiple offers for a fight against Chimaev, which Covington subsequently denied.
On Wednesday, Chimaev appeared on The MMA Hour to double down on his claim and to offer a confident prediction on how a fight with Covington would go.
“I reacted like he’s a liar,” Chimaev said when asked about Covington’s response. “He lies. They called me four times, why it didn’t happen? They wanted it, the UFC wanted it, why didn’t it happen? Someone said, ‘No.’ I know it’s not me. I go out with the media at that time and he was fighting. I showed it to everyone I want a fight with Colby, I posted a picture on Instagram, I tweet, everywhere I spoke about that I want to make a show and that will be an amazing fight. A lot of people are going to watch that fight because the guy makes a show. People don’t like him because he lies too much, but he’s still a fighter.
“For me, that’s an easy fight. Stylistically for me, it’s much easier. I’m a much better grappler than him, much better wrestler than him, my striking as well, hard punch. He spoke about his cardio. How’s he going to use his cardio? How is he going to take me down? How is he going to hurt me? He’s too little a boy. He’s scared. That’s why when guys move up he starts, ‘I was never offered.’ Why didn’t you talk about that before? One day before, Dana White said Khamzat is moving up and the day after [Covington] starts to speak about me. Why didn’t he speak one week before that? Now you see.”
Chimaev noted that he never signed a contract to fight Covington, but that he verbally agreed to face “Chaos” on multiple occasions. The undefeated Chimaev most recently fought at UFC 279 this past September, where he defeated Kevin Holland by first-round submission in an impromptu 180-pound catchweight bout after Chimave missed weight badly for a fight against Nate Diaz.
According to Chimaev, he was actually supposed to fight Covington in summer of last year, but believes that Covington’s legal battle with rival Jorge Masvidal may have prevented it from happening. Masvidal is currently dealing with with multiple felony charges — including aggravated battery — after allegedly attacking Covington outside of a Miami restaurant this in March 2022.
“I think because he had some problems with Masvidal,” Chimaev said. “I think that, I don’t know, maybe it’s not like that. He had some problems with Masvidal and tried to make money with the police and something.”
Though nothing is official, it appears that Covington is set to jump the welterweight line after sitting out the past year following his win over Masvidal at UFC 272. Chimaev sounded unbothered by the potential Edwards-Covington matchup, stating only that as long as the UFC continues to compensate him well then he won’t complain.
Besides, if he stays undefeated, he expects to get his respect one way or another.
“I don’t care about that s***,” Chimaev said. “I don’t care about that s*** belt as well. I’m here to make money and be happy and make good for my family so they can do whatever they want. I’m never going to lose my fight. If they’re never going to give me the belt, I can fight, I’m never going to lose the fight, what are they going to do?
“I will be No. 1 pound-for-pound without the belt. First fighter in the world to become pound-for-pound No. 1 without the belt.”