Sean Strickland says Khamzat Chimaev should return to welterweight, despite his massive weight miss for UFC 279 this past Saturday.
Chimaev was expected to weigh 170 (or 171 with the one-pound allowance) for his fight against Nate Diaz. However, ‘Borz’ stepped on the scales at 178.5, seven-and-a-half pounds over the limit. Hours after his weight miss, Chimaev received a new opponent in Kevin Holland, who he fought at a catchweight. He went on to submit the ‘Trailblazer’ by first-round D’arce choke.
Though adamant he can continue competing at 170, Chimaev was urged to consider a move to 185, which Strickland disagrees with. ‘Tarzan’ told Helen Yee the undefeated upstart is better off at welterweight, especially since he is much closer to a championship opportunity in that weight class.
“It’s a hard one,” said Strickland. “If it wasn’t for my accident, I would still be at welterweight and I would probably have way better odds of winning a belt at welterweight. So, it’s one of those weird things where it’s like, would he enjoy life more at middleweight? F—k yeah. I have cheeseburgers. I’m a happy, fat man. Barbecue, man. I’m gonna have a cheeseburger tonight.
“But that being said, at welterweight, life was f—ing miserable,” continued Strickland. “I was f—ing running every night. But he will have a better shot at being a champion at welterweight, I’ll tell you that. But I also understand that that cut is f—ing brutal, and if I didn’t get into a motorcycle accident, I’d probably still be a welterweight.”
If Chimaev returns to welterweight, Strickland wants him to fight someone with a higher ranking. That leaves two options: Colby Covington or Kamaru Usman, and Strickland chooses the former for Chimaev to share the Octagon with next.
“He needs to fight a high-ranked guy,” said Strickland. “I think Covington would be a great fight. He fought Gilbert Burns, but I think Covington should be his next fight and if he wins, he should get a title shot. Hands down. If he beats Covington, title fight.”
A fight between Covington and Chimaev was reportedly being considered by UFC president Dana White, who said with a win over Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 in April, he would ‘love to do Khamzat vs. Colby’ at UFC on ABC 3 in July.
Of course, Chimaev defeated Burns in a ‘Fight of the Year’ contender, but his next fight was scheduled against Diaz — not Covington. ‘Chaos’ has not fought since besting Jorge Masvidal by unanimous decision at UFC 272.
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