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Could Covington Vs. Chimaev Be the Fight of 2022?

It’s not too common that a fighter like Khamzat Chimaev comes around, but when they do they can cause a stir. Crazily, Chimaev made his pro-MMA debut back in 2018 and has since gone on to achieve a 10-0 record. This includes a brief pause due to contracting a harsh case of Covid 19, as well as delays due to the global lockdown. However, earlier this year at UFC 267, Chimaev returned to the UFC and beat Jingliang Li with relative ease – defeating his Chinese opponent in little over 3 minutes, whilst not taking a single punch either.

Khamzat Chimaev dominates during his early UFC career

It’s impressive stuff and since joining the UFC, he’s won all four of his fights with most barely going past the three-minute mark. Undoubtedly, this has put a light on his career as he threatens to gatecrash the top 10 UFC Welterweight rankings. This has also bought the Chechnian negative attention too. Most recently, this criticism has come from the UFC’s resident loudmouth, Colby Covington. Before Kamaru Usman came along and dominated, Covington was the Welterweight UFC Champion and had an impressive record, racking up numerous unanimous decisions in the process.

Speaking of unanimous decisions, there’s a reason why he specialized in these wins – because he was a great wrestler. Like many wrestlers before him, Covington was able to take down his opponents, grind them down, and outscore them. It’s a formula that has been done quite often in modern MMA with fellow Welterweight contender Leon Edwards also deploying this strategy quite well.

Colby Covington calls out Khamzat Chimaev

Recently, Covington put his name in the hat for a fight with Chimaev, saying that “The door is open” and how he’d “Love to expose the hype job” when discussing Chimaev. Clearly, Covington is less than impressed with his prospective opponent. Of course, trash-talking is nothing new for Covington, but there’s a real possibility that this bout could happen as it seems Dana White eyes up Chimaev as his next potential superstar.

What makes this potential fight even more exciting is the wrestling background of either fighter. Whilst Covington is an ex-USA wrestling champion, the same can be said about Chimaev in his country of Sweden. There are also pros and cons for both men. For instance, Covington has legitimately proven himself as a top fighter, and obviously being an ex-UFC Champion is no joke. The same can’t be said yet for Chimaev, who is full of potential but is yet to prove himself against a top 10 opponent.

Having said this, not many have had the UFC run that Chimaev has had in terms of dominant performances. In short, he has practically destroyed all of his opponents and is a finisher. Whether that’s by submissions or knockouts, Chimaev’s entire career going back to his amateur days has never had a decision win. Therefore, you could argue that he’s more than enough for Covington.

In terms of the pull and UFC fan base, if this fight were to go ahead and be a headliner – then it would undoubtedly get eyes on the sport. If Covington won then it would solidify his place as a top Welterweight and throw Chimaev’s claims into jeopardy. However, if Chimaev won then it could earn him an instant title shot against Kamaru Usman.

A great match up, but could it never happen?

It seems that this one could go ahead too, seeing as both fighters seem pretty keen to fight each other and test their skills. This is the UFC though, and things rarely go according to plan. The result is that you could get a variety of match-ups over the coming months for either fighter. Nonetheless, we can only hope that this one happens. As bother fighters are primarily wrestlers, someone would have to lose and it would make for a fascinating spectacle.

Other opponents for Chimaev include the likes of Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns. However, both fighters have since distanced themselves for various reasons. Elsewhere, it seems Covington will have to fight others before looking at a title match again and there’s a real possibility that he could fight his old friend and foe Jorge Masvidal at some point. At the same time, most MMA fans would probably look at Covington vs. Chimaev as the match to make which hopefully becomes a reality.

Written by Martin Dover

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