Following his epic win over Gilbert Burns in their Fight of the Year contender at UFC 273, the talk about Khamzat Chimaev’s next test has been the talk of the internet, with Dana White’s pre-fight statement that the UFC is looking at matching him with Colby Covington receiving plenty of support online.
One source of approval is none other than former UFC middleweight champion and UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping, who gave a super-early breakdown of the matchup on his YouTube channel.
“He’s gonna fight Colby Covington. Dana said it and it’s been talked about already, and I think that’s a great logical matchup,” he began.
“Yeah, he’s a little busted up right now, but it’s all just superficial – they’re only flesh wounds. He’ll be OK before we know it and he’ll be ready to go. Colby Covington, he’s ready to go. Other than a little cheeky three-piece and a soda at the restaurant, he hasn’t taken much damage lately.”
Bisping then broke down the matchup and offered his take on which fighter holds the edge across a number of different criteria ahead of their mooted matchup.
“When you look at these two, it’s going to be an interesting matchup,” he continued.
“Size-wise? Khamzat. Wrestling credentials? Well, credentials go to Colby. But Khamzat may be able to win a wrestling match just simply because he was a Swedish wrestling champion. He is a very good wrestler, but he’s also bigger – size and strength does matter in a sport like wrestling.
“Striking-wise? Again, Khamzat is taller and he’s longer. And if he develops a gameplan, then maybe we could see him get the striking advantage. Experience goes to Colby Covington, without question. Conditioning and pace? They’ve both got good conditioning and pace, but Colby’s is on another level, so we’ll give him the advantage there.”
From a ranking standpoint, it’s a matchup that appears to make a lot of sense. With reigning champion Kamaru Usman set to face No 2-ranked Leon Edwards in a title defence later this summer, the only other man ranked above Chimaev is Covington, and the American needs another win over a top contender to put himself back in line for a third shot at longtime rival Usman.
With Covington’s penchant for trash talk and Chimaev’s ability to project his confidence on his opponents, it could be a matchup that generates a stack of column inches long before the pair set foot in the octagon.
“It’s gonna get out of control,” said Bisping.
“But I can’t wait for it!”
“The Count” also shared his take on Gilbert Burns’ next potential matchup, and offered up the suggestion of a dynamite clash with Jorge Masvidal as the ideal next bout for “Durinho.”
“Who did Colby Covington just fight? Well, he just fought Jorge Masvidal,” he began.
“Jorge Masvidal has lost three in a row now. Jorge Masvidal needs a win. The UFC likes to match up people who lose fights with other people that lose fights.
“Masvidal obviously needs a win. Masvidal is on a huge contract these days, and Masvidal’s got balls, man. He’ll fight anyone. That’s not a joke. That’s not a persona. The only problem is, Burns may come with a wrestling-heavy gameplan. I’m sure Masvidal doesn’t want to go in there with another guy that wants to just wrestle and grapple him. He wants to go out there and fight somebody that’s gonna have a fan-friendly style, someone that’s going to stand and go toe to toe. That’s when you see the best out of Jorge Masvidal.
“The problem with Masvidal, according to when this contract came out, I think he’s the third-highest (paid) person on the roster now. When you have that kind of contract, you’re going to be placed in big fights, because that’s how the UFC recoups their investment, you know? So it’s gonna be a big fight.
“So I say, b******s to it, put Gilbert Burns in with Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal. That is a tremendous fight!”