Khamzat Chimaev’s rise to the top could see him go through Colby Covington.
Andreas Michael, the undefeated fighter’s trainer believes that Covington should be his next opponent. He is a former UFC champion and No. 2 welterweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings.
“I would like to see him fight Colby,” Michael said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Colby would be a good fight. We’re after fighting the best, and Colby’s the next step up, and we keep on going. … If we aren’t good enough to fight, we should not be fighting. That’s how I think. Because right now it doesn’t get easier.
” It gets more difficult, and you won’t be able to handle the guys [UFC welterweight champion Kamaru] Usman handled, we will have problems. He can deal with them and will manage them.
In his most recent outing at UFC 273, Chimaev improved to 11-0 as a pro and 5-0 in the UFC with a unanimous decision win over past title challenger Gilbert Burns. Ahead of the fight, Burns was widely considered to be the most significant test of Chimaev’s career, and the bout lived up to that expectation as Chimaev went to the cards for the first time in his career following three back-and-forth rounds; Chimaev had finished his first four UFC opponents.
Given all the harm done to Burns Michael would like Chimaev to take his time before he fights again.
“This allows me to draw on my past experience and keep him away, as fights such as these take some time to heal. Michael agreed. He should fight in September or October. If he listens .”
The lineup to fight Covington is a long one – the brash American has fostered a number of potential feuds and was recently called out by another welterweight contender, Belal Muhammad.
Should Covington agree to fight Chimaev? Michael envisions a scenario in which Usman defends his title first against Leon Edwards, and Chimaev then goes through Covington for his chance at the championship.
“I just hope we take steps forward,” Michael said. People are talking about different fights, but for me, if there was a choice, I wouldn’t be interested in another fight. Steps forward are what I seek, not backwards. I don’t want anyone building their name on our name. I want us to build our name on other guys’ names if you understand what I mean.”
He added that “At end of day, I hope we get Colby then with God’s help we lose that fight. Then you can say that we have the winner of Usman Vs. Leon .”