Sean Strickland thinks Khamzat Chimaev should stay at welterweight.
Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) came in 7.5 pounds over the welterweight limit for his originally scheduled bout against Nate Diaz this past Saturday at UFC 279. As a result, the card was shuffled and he fought Kevin Holland, instead, in a 180-pound catchweight bout.
“Borz” scored a dominant first-round submission of Holland. Although Chimaev’s head coach, Andreas Michael, hinted that his next fight will probably take place at 185 pounds, former welterweight and current middleweight contender Strickland likes Chimaev’s chances of gold at welterweight more.
“It’s a hard one,” Strickland said in an interview with Helen Yee. “If it wasn’t for my accident, I would still be at welterweight and I would probably have way better odds of winning a belt at welterweight. So, it’s one of those weird things where it’s like, would he enjoy life more at middleweight? F*ck yeah. I have cheeseburgers – I’m a happy, fat man.
“But that being said, at welterweight, life was f*cking miserable. I was f*cking running every night. But he will have a better shot at being a champion at welterweight, I’ll tell you that. But I also understand that that cut is f*cking brutal, and if I didn’t get into a motorcycle accident, I’d probably still be a welterweight.”
Strickland (25-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC), who meets Jared Cannonier in the UFC Fight Night main event Dec. 17, thinks Chimaev is one fight away from a title shot at welterweight. He sees former interim champion Colby Covington as the perfect opponent.
“He needs to fight a high-ranked guy,” Strickland said. “I think Covington would be a great fight. He fought Gilbert Burns, but I think Covington should be his next fight and if he wins, he should get a title shot.”
Fighters react to Khamzat Chimaev’s weight miss for Nate Diaz fight at UFC 279
Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie