Unless Colby Covington is guaranteed a title shot with a win over Khamzat Chimaev in a potential matchup, Chael Sonnen thinks he shouldn’t take the fight.
Prior to Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) netting a unanimous decision win over Gilbert Burns this past Saturday at UFC 273, company president Dana White stated that should Chimaev win, Covington was the fight to make in for an ABC-televised event this summer.
In his past 11 fights, former interim champion Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) has only lost to UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman – twice.
“That could only happen if it’s a No. 1 contenders fight,” Sonnen on his YouTube channel. “I don’t know how you’re going to get Colby, who is ranked No.1 – everybody ranked No. 1 gets to fight for a world championship except Colby Covington. So, what do you give that guy? You’re gonna put him in the main event, now he’s going to 25 minutes? 25 minutes with Chimaev. Chimaev and Colby, because of the way they fight, 25 minutes changes your life.”
Covington is coming off a lopsided unanimous decision win over former friend-turned-foe Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272 in March, but with two recent title losses to Usman, it may be hard for him to get a trilogy bout.
On the flip side, should unbeaten Chimaev get past Covington, a title shot would be imminent. However, Sonnen thinks there should be incentive for Covington to accept the bout, too.
“I’m only asking you, for what? There’s a point in your career where because to compete, for nothing else,” Sonnen added. “But when you start winning main events and you keep winning main events like Colby just did, you’re the interim champion, you never lose, they take your belt away. You beat the ‘BMF’ champ but they never put the strap around you. In all fairness, at some point, Colby is gonna have to put his foot down.”