Colby Covington vs. Khamzat Chimaev is the fight to make, according to UFC president Dana White. Getting that fight signed may be harder than expected, though, unless the UFC is willing to give Covington something extra.
Leading up to his big money grudge match against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272, Colby Covington revealed he wasn't earning pay-per-view points for the fight. That was quite surprising given this was an extremely rare non-title main event for a UFC PPV. If any fight warranted both fighters get points, it was Covington vs. Masvidal.
Now the UFC wants Colby Covington to fight another popular star in Khamzat Chimaev, and Chael Sonnen believes they're going to have to figure out a way to make him say yes. In a recent YouTube video, Sonnen said:
"Getting Colby to the table is not as easy as you guys think. The days of Colby being a competitor, anyone anywhere anytime, he lived that life for twenty years. He's now calculated. There's things that he wants. Now ABC, yes he's going to want that. Main event, he's going to want that. All the attention, all the press of network television, yes he's going to want that. I just believe in my heart that Colby's going to need a promise on the back. I think Colby agrees to this contract and signs it today, I really do. IF it's a number one contender's match."
Sonnen added that this was just speculation on his part. He said:
"I'm holding out on behalf of Colby, who I'm very good friends with. I could call him, I just haven't. I'm talking behind his back, I'm guessing. I know the way he works. There's going to have to be a little sugar on it."
Watch Chael Sonnen discuss Colby Covington vs. Khamzat Chimaev below:
Kamaru Usman is willing to give Colby Covington a third fight
The biggest roadblock towards Covington getting a title shot is the fact that the champion Kamaru Usman has already beaten him twice. But 'The Nigerian Nightmare' has suggested he's not against fighting Covington for a third time. He told ESPN:
"Anyone new that's coming towards that title, they have to go through Covington. And so I think, you know, maybe a potential third fight down the line if he's able to continue to just, you know, take out all these guys and demolish them."
For now, Kamaru Usman's next challenger is set to be Leon Edwards. The UFC is looking to book that fight in the summer of 2022 if an injury to Usman's hand permits.