Monday, November 28, 2022

Whittaker: Chimaev Is A “Terrible” Matchup For Covington

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has given his assessment of how a fight between welterweight contenders Khamzat Chimaev and Colby Covington would play out.

At UFC 279 last month, Chimaev’s future at 170 pounds was called into question following a mammoth 7.5-pound weight miss ahead of his planned headliner against Nate Diaz. While he dominated new opponent Kevin Holland in a catchweight contest, post-fight talk surrounded a possible forced move to middleweight.

However, recent comments from UFC President Dana White have confirmed that “Borz” plans on continuing his charge for gold at welterweight. With that, he’ll receive another opportunity to make the cut, with a possible showdown with former interim titleholder Covington appearing the desired matchup.

Covington has fallen short of the undisputed throne on two occasions in his career, with now-former champ Kamaru Usman finishing him at UFC 245 in 2019 and outpointing him at UFC 268 last November.

And according to one elite middleweight contender, “Chaos” may find a case of déjà vu if he shares the Octagon with Chimaev.

Whittaker Compares Chimaev Matchup With Covington’s Two-Fight Usman Series

During a recent appearance on Submission Radio, #1-ranked 185lber Robert Whittaker gave his take on how a collision between Covington and Chimaev would play out.

Having concluded that the Chechen-born Swede would be able to withstand the American’s takedowns and wrestling exchanges, Whittaker suggested that the matchup would likely develop into a striking contest, much like Covington’s pair of contests versus Usman.

In that scenario, “The Reaper” gave a firm edge to Chimaev, who’s shown his standup talents in his quick knockout of Gerald Meerschaert and three-round war with Gilbert Burns.

“If we look at it media-wise, I think it’ll be a spectacle… the full circus,” Whittaker said. “Stylistically, fight-wise, I think that’s a terrible fight for Colby. Terrible. Because, you saw with Usman that anyone Colby can’t just relentlessly spam takedowns on, it becomes a kickboxing fight, a striking match.

“I think Covington is great at what he does, but he’s not a kickboxer, he’s not a striker by trade. That doesn’t come naturally to him. His pressure style and wrestling style is what comes naturally to him. Khamzat can counter-wrestle Colby,” Whittaker continued. “He’s a big dude with long range and a lot of reach. And his striking is nothing ridiculously crazy, but it’s put together at a high level… I think Khamzat, for Colby, is a bad matchup.”

Chimaev clearly backs himself to bring Whittaker’s prediction to fruition. After ascending into the top five with his win over Burns, “Borz” called out Covington on Twitter.

Covington hasn’t appeared since his unanimous decision victory over arch-rival Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272 this past March. Should he be targeting another opportunity at the title following Usman’s defeat, a standout performance against Chimaev would likely do the trick.

Do you agree with Robert Whittaker’s assessment of how Colby Covington would fare against Khamzat Chimaev?

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