Covington is coming off his second failed attempt at dethroning 170-pound kingpin Kamaru Usman. Having previously suffered a final-round TKO at UFC 245 in 2019, “Chaos” was given another shot at gold at UFC 268 earlier this month.
Despite taking the fight to the scorecards, the former interim champion once again fell short of ascending the welterweight mountaintop. A late surge inside Madison Square Garden wasn’t enough for Covington to outpoint Usman, who left the Octagon with his fifth successful title defense in the books.
Covington has now turned his attention to his next outing and his path to a trilogy clash with “The Nigerian Nightmare.” Despite repeatedly calling out rival and former teammate Jorge Masvidal, the 33-year-old has also taken notice of another contender, Chechen-born brute Chimaev.
“Borz” recently returned to action for the first time in over a year at UFC 267, destroying ranked welterweight Li Jingliang inside the opening round. Having decimated four opponents in the UFC, and barely been hit in the process, many expect Chimaev to be fast-tracked to the top.
But Covington isn’t buying the hype. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck, the #1-ranked 170lber described Chimaev as a “joke,” and accused the media of building the Swede up more than they should. Covington also claimed he’s more than happy to send Chimaev to hospital with a beating inside the cage.
“He’s a joke. He needs to beat someone worthy — someone in the top 5, someone in the top of the rankings, not just fight hand-picked people… What does he have, four UFC fights? The media loves to rush these kids and these hype jobs. This is fighting, man. People can get seriously hurt from rushing people like that.
“But if you guys want to rush a guy, take some time off of his life and send him for a hospital treatment, then, yeah, the door is open for that. I love doing good business and I love doing business with the UFC. It would be an honor to beat who they want me to beat, and if that’s the name they put in front of me, I can promise you that I’m gonna train extremely hard and I’m gonna show a new skill set the world hasn’t seen yet. You kind of see that from me every fight, I get better every fight. I add new layers to my game, so whoever they try and match me up with next, you’re gonna see those new layers and someone is gonna get seriously hurt.” (h/t MMA Fighting)
Covington: Chimaev Comes From The “Handout Generation”
After victories over John Phillips, Rhys McKee, and Gerald Meerschaert in 2020, Chimaev was matched up with top contender Leon Edwards. After that matchup fell through three times, the 27-year-old found himself on the sidelines battling COVID-19, an experience that even made him consider retirement.
Having returned in style on Fight Island and, in doing so, jumped straight into the welterweight top 10, the general consensus is that “Borz” is just one or two victories away from a title shot. Showing his disdain for his peer’s fast rise, Colby Covington suggested Chimaev is part of the “handout generation,” something he believes he’ll prove if the pair enter the Octagon together.
“I think what we’ve learned with, not only in sports, not only in the UFC, but with this world and the way it’s changed these days, this is the handout generation,” Covington said. “And it’s the participation trophy generation. This guy is nothing more than a participation trophy winner, a handout winner, and if that’s what they want to do, that’s what it is.
“I only stay in my lane and focus on my lane, not anyone else’s lane, just my lane. Big fucking deal, he got a handout and a participation trophy. But in the long run no one will remember that. They’re just gonna remember what would happen inside that octagon.”
Whilst Chimaev is reportedly set to face former title challenger Gilbert Burns in January, a clash with Covington could be on the cards should a matchup with “Durinho” fall through.
How do you think Khamzat Chimaev would fare against Colby Covington?