Darren Till expects Khamzat Chimaev to be too much for Colby Covington.
Ahead of UFC 273, UFC president Dana White planned for a matchup between Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) and Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) if Chimaev got past Gilbert Burns.
Chimaev ended up outlasting Burns (20-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) in a 15-minute barn burner, and Till is confident that his good friend and training partner could put Covington away.
“I would like to see him fight Colby in a five-round main event, and I think that’s the best thing for both guys,” Till told Submission Radio. “I think Khamzat can knock him out. I don’t think Colby’s felt power like Khamzat. Like, I’ve changed my opinion a bit because Colby’s a good fighter, but I just don’t see who he’s fighting who’s at the top of the level right now.
“Obviously Usman, but like, there’s no one (else). Khamzat’s obviously come up real quick. I just think Khamzat’s got so much power and edge over him. Listen, Colby’s a terrific fighter. He’s phenomenal, but I see the win there with Khamzat, and I’d love to see that to get him ready for the title for Usman.”
Chimaev had run through opposition until he fought Burns. “Durinho” pushed him to the brink, dropping him in the fight and forcing the unbeaten fighter into uncharted territory.
But Till thinks Chimaev will only benefit from a war like that.
“I knew what Khamzat had and what he has inside, but what the best thing I think for this fight is, that he’s tasted a bit of getting punched and having to dig deep for the win,” Till said. “Cause that changes you as a fighter, as a man. So, I said to him backstage, I said to him, ‘That’s what you needed.’
“Like, this is probably the best outcome you could have had, because now you’re going to train even harder, and you’re gonna listen to your coaches’ strategy more, and it’s not just about going out there and knocking guys out and toughing guys out, because you’re gonna go up an unmovable force one day, which we came up against. Like, Gilbert on the night, he was strong and durable and stuff like that, so it was probably the best outcome in my opinion.”