Stephen Thompson feels that Khamzat Chimaev should have accomplished much more before being thrust onto the top of the welterweight division.
Khamzat Chimaev is 3 for 3 in his UFC fights, and now he gets the #3 fighter in the welterweight division, Leon Edwards, for his next fight. Chimaev himself is already ranked #15 in the division after such a small number of fights, and for him to be receiving such a monster push from the rankings panel and the UFC matchmakers is mind-boggling to Stephen Thompson.
“I think he was ranked No. 15, which doesn’t make sense to me,” Thompson told MMA Junkie recently. “I know he’s had one fight in the welterweight division, and his opponent (Rhys McKee) is 0-2 right now and normally a lightweight, a 155er, so it just doesn’t make sense how this guy can jump past everybody who’s worked their behinds off to get to where they’re at, and now he’s ranked No. 15 fighting the No. 3 guy, I believe. It’s just ridiculous to me.”
When Stephen Thompson looks at the push Chimaev is currently receiving, he cannot help but to contrast Chimaev’s rise with that of his own, and the differences are glaring, says Thompson.
“I had to fight through murderer’s row to get to where I’m at and so did Leon Edwards,” Thompson said. “He was on a (eight-fight) winning streak to get to where he’s at. I had to fight a slew of guys, I mean tough opponents. Robert Whittaker, Jake Ellenberger, Rory McDonald, Johny Hendricks to get to where I’m at, and then this guy just jumps past everybody. I think it’s a slap in the face to everybody who’s worked their butts off.”
Stephen Thompson would go on to say that the fight makes very little sense for Leon Edwards to take, but it makes all the sense in the world for the UFC from a marketing perspective, even if it does mean disrespecting fighters who slowly worked their way up.
“Guaranteed he’s probably gonna get a title shot if he beats Leon Edwards, and I kinda called this,” Thompson said. “I was wondering why they were pushing Khamzat so hard, and I was like watch Khabib retire, because they’re from the same neck of the woods, they got to please that market, so it kinda makes sense why they’re pushing him so hard.”
Do you agree with Stephen Thompson? Is Khamzat Chimaev’s massive push disrespectful to other fighters?