Stephen Thompson gives Colby Covington the edge vs. Khamzat Chimaev if they fight five rounds.
Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) and Chimaev have been linked to a bout for a while now, but neither man has been booked yet. Chimaev is interested in fighting Covington but also wants a shot at newly crowned UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira. But after Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) missed the welterweight limit by 7.5 pounds in his past outing at UFC 279, Thompson (16-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) wonders if Covington would take the fight.
"I'm not really sure if that will happen," Thompson told Submission Radio. "I don't think Colby wants it, obviously, and especially against a guy that hasn't made weight. So I don't blame him."
With Chimaev having a hard time getting down to 170 pounds, "Wonderboy" thinks it'll have an impact on his cardio, which he sees as an issue against a fighter like Covington.
"If it does happen, I think if it goes five-five, I think Colby's got it if it goes in the later rounds," Thompson said. "Just because he's got cardio for days. And we saw the fight with Chimaev and Gilbert Burns, and Chimaev started to fatigue. And I don't know if that's because he did make weight, right? And he was depleted? Cause he killed himself to get down to 170.
"Will he be able to do it again? I don't know. If he doesn't make weight, I wouldn't fight him. I would say no. But if it does (happen), if Chimaev wins, it's gonna have to be early on in the rounds. But if it goes all five, definitely Colby. He's got cardio for days, and Chimaev is just a big 170-er man. He shouldn't even be a 170; he should be up at 185."
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Thompson returns to action in Saturday's UFC on ESPN 42 headliner when he takes on Kevin Holland at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. The card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie event hub for UFC on ESPN 42.
Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie