Covington last competed in March at UFC 272 when he bested Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision. Prior to that, “Chaos” attempted to take Kamaru Usman’s undisputed 170-pound crown at UFC 268 in November 2021, but Covington lost to “The Nigerian Nightmare” for a second time — dropping the match by unanimous decision.
With Covington sitting at No. 2 in the division, Chimaev has been vocal about pairing up with the American. Borz is ranked No. 3 and he’s coming off his first-round destruction of Kevin Holland. They fought at a 180-pound catchweight during UFC 279 in September and Chimaev caught the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a D’Arce choke.
Prior to that, Chimaev earned his position as a top-five welterweight by taking on Gilbert Burns in an all-out war in April at UFC 273. It was a wild three-round affair that saw both men rocked, bloodied and bruised. But in the end, Chimaev took home the victory via unanimous decision.
Chimaev Sees Burns as a Bigger Challenge to Him Than Covington
In the interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Chimaev said that considering Usman and Masvidal dropped Covington in their respective bouts — he could drop Covington as well. And Chimaev also told Okamoto that he viewed Burns as a harder fight than Chaos.
“[Covington] will be much easier,” Chimaev said. “Gilbert is — for me — hard to fight with Gilbert because he’s good in the ground as well. And he’s not bad in wrestling as well. But I could wrestle with him, I took him down easy. In the Gilbert fight, I promised everyone, ‘I can knock him out. I’m going to knock him out, going to knock him out.’ Like, I made in my mind — gonna knock him out. That’s why I was running after him for three rounds. Forget about the time, forget about [the] game plan, everything.”
Chimaev said his experience fighting Burns made him “smarter” and that he was happy for it.
“Colby is not the same kind of guy,” Borz continued. “Colby, I can take him down, submit him, I can knock him out. Usman dropped him. Masvidal dropped him. So why not me? If I punch him, he will not come up. He will sleep there a long time.”
Chimaev Wants to Challenge for Middleweight Title in January Than Fight Covington at Welterweight in March
To say Chimaev has mixed martial arts ambitions is an understatement. The polarizing star said in the interview that he was eyeing a middleweight title fight against newly crowned champion Alex Pereira.
“Poatan” took the belt from Israel Adesanya last weekend at UFC 281 via fifth-round TKO. Borz said he’d like to challenge Pereira for the belt during the UFC’s return to Brazil on January 21. And then, he’d take his 185-pound strap down to the welterweight division to square off against Covington in March.
“Before, I was thinking if Kamaru Usman will win his fight, I will fight with him next,” Chimaev said. “But he lose. And I was thinking if [Israel] Adesanya win his fight, who is he gonna fight? There’s only me. And he lose as well. Now [Pereira and Adesanya] want to [rematch] in March, I don’t know what they’re going to do.
“So I said to Sean Shelby and Dana [White] as well, I’m ready for Pereira in Brazil. Directly after that, March, if Colby wants to fight, I’d take my title and I’d go down and fight Colby as well.”