When Kamaru Usman stated that he would like to defend the welterweight title against Michael Chiesa next, this declaration turned many heads. In fact, it’s safe to say that when Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, first made mention of Chiesa being Usman’s top choice for his next opponent, this was the first time anyone even thought of the idea. After all, Chiesa is not ranked within the top 5 nor does he have a victory over anyone ranked in the top 5. Not only that, but an argument could be made that he is still relatively new in the division despite being an eight-year UFC veteran.
But shortly after Abdelaziz broached the subject, the champion confirmed his manager’s testimony. Usman argued that Chiesa is on a winning streak and has shown more hunger and activity than Covington, who has been declining fights and sitting on the proverbial sidelines waiting for a title shot despite only defeating Tyron Woodley since losing to Usman at UFC 245.
Now, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson has come forward to demonstrate that there is a least one other welterweight who feels the exact same way about who deserves a title shot more between “Chaos” and “The Maverick” (via LowKickMMA).
“I don’t know, man — he’s (Kamaru Usman’s) already fought Colby Covington,” said in the interview with LowKickMMA. He hasn’t fought, (Michael) Chiesa. You know, so we saw what happened the first time that they fought and I think Colby Covington has had one fight (since) and that was (against) Tyron Woodley.“
Stephen Thompson can see where the intrigue lies in either fight, but the biggest difference is that one movie already had its ending while the other lies with a blank script.
“I would like to see that fight with Chiesa,” Thompson continued. “I mean, I think both fights are very interesting as well and we can see what kind of improvements Colby’s made. I mean — he’s an intelligent guy too, I don’t think he’ll fight him (Usman) the same way. He might end up using some of the wrestling this time, and not have to stand there and get his jaw broken like what happened last time. Either way, it really doesn’t matter. You know, we’ve already seen that happen. So why not give Chiesa a shot?”
Though it’s true that Kamaru Usman already faced and finished Colby Covington, Thompson did not address the counterargument that will undoubtedly be made in Covington’s defense (and one Covington has already made), which is that Usman gave Jorge Masvidal a rematch without Masvidal doing anything whatsoever between fights. Meanwhile, Covington at least picked up a victory, even if it was against a downward Tyron Woodley, and also gave Usman a much tougher fight than Masvidal did.
Usman has expressed the difference between the Masvidal/Covington scenarios, with one initial fight being satisfying (Covington) and the other leaving a bad taste in his mouth (Masvidal), but that explanation may not be enough to appease fans who are dying for Usman/Covington 2, and it sure as hell won’t be enough to silence the outspoken and abrasive Colby Covington.
What do you think? Has Stephen Thompson joining Usman’s side on the Chiesa vs. Covington debate convinced you that Chiesa is more deserving of a title shot than Colby Covington?