Why is Khamzat Chimaev still a welterweight?

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Stephen Thompson thinks Khamzat Chimaev should move up to middleweight.

Chimaev dropped 7.5 pounds for his welterweight bout against Nate Diaz at UFC 279 in September. Due to the big miss, Chimaev ended up drawing Kevin Holland into a 180-pound catchweight fight instead and walked through him in the first round.

While Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) is currently tied to a matchup with former title challenger Colby Covington, “Wonderboy” is surprised to see him stay at 170 pounds.

“From what I’m hearing, he’s a very strong welterweight,” Thompson said in an interview with journalist James Lynch. “He should be at 185. I don’t even understand why he’s still at 170. I know they’re trying to get him to fight Colby Covington, which I think is going to be a fun fight. It’s going to be a fun fight (against) someone who is as strong a wrestler as Khamzat. But the thing is, is he going to gain weight? Can he gain weight?

Thompson (16-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) will face Holland (23-8 MMA, 10-5 UFC) in the main event of UFC on ESPN 42 on Dec. 3 in Orlando. Although Holland was quickly subdued by Chimaev, Thompson believes he put in a valiant effort given how strong ‘Borz’ was.

“Don’t take anything away from Kevin Holland after this fight,” Thompson said. “I mean, it was a day’s notice. Fighting someone as big and strong and gifted in wrestling as Chimaev, I thought he held his own in the first round. Lots of crazy jostling. He is very disjointed on the ground. He really is; Kevin is. Which was a little messed up, he walks in to give him a high five and he (Chimaev) shoots right in the legs, ends up knocking him down. I’m like, oh, come on, man. I should have given the guy a high five.

For more on the card, visit the MMA Junkie Event Hub for UFC on ESPN 42.


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