Is Colby Covington Using Brain Injury Allegations to Duck Khamzat Chimaev?

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Reports of Colby “Chaos” Covington have emerged that he is looking to sue his immortal rival Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal for causing brain injuries. According to court documents, the number one ranked UFC welterweight claims that the unprovoked attack on March 21, mere weeks after their fight in the Octagon, resulted in “brain injury”.

While many believe that this lawsuit is simply to drain “Gamebred” dry, others think there is a deeper, more calculated reason why Covington is pursuing the suit. There is a rising star within the welterweight ranks, and the number one contender wants nothing to do with him – and his name is Khamzat “Borz” Chimaev.

Is Covington Afraid of Chimaev?

Short answer? Probably not. It might seem like the case; MMA fans love nothing more but to accuse a fighter of “ducking.” However, it would be extremely out of character for “Chaos” not to show someone their place – as we see with Masvidal and the seemingly endless barrage of legal fights.

Plus, during an interview with Submission Radio, the first ranked welterweight called for Chimaev to “win some credible contender fights” before Covington would even consider going up against the Chechen. Colby Covington is a character, for sure, who’s said some interesting things over the years, but he isn’t one to back down on his word.

“Borz” has just recently climbed to the third spot of the welterweight division after taking down former third-ranked Gilbert Burns via unanimous decision in early April. For a fighter to leap across the top 10 of his division straight into the top three? That’s something deserving of notice, and even Dana White had called that matchup a “title contender” fight – with the winner being next in line to face current champ, Kamaru Usman.

With what “Chaos” said being public record, it seems highly unlikely that he will end up avoiding a fight with the brutal Chimaev. Besides, Covington would love nothing more but to prove his position as number one. And what better way than to beat the up-and-coming welterweight star?

What’s Next For the Welterweights?

Honestly? There are only two paths for the top three, and neither of them is giving Covington another title shot against Usman. Not yet, anyway.

One path forward is for “Chaos” to act as a gatekeeper, keeping his number one spot by going up against Chimaev or even number two ranked Leon Edwards – both with an eye on Usman’s belt – and preventing them from title contention. It makes sense for Chimaev or Edwards to face Covington before going up against Usman, especially since doctors haven’t yet cleared Usman to return to the Octagon after undergoing hand surgery.

This is the other path. Either Chimaev claims the promise of title contention, or Edwards comes out of forced hiatus and finally gets the title shot he’s been asking for. But, this is the UFC, and it won’t be a surprise if matchmakers were to keep by White’s word to fast-track Chimaev to fight the champ upon the latter’s return, skipping Edwards and Covington altogether.

What do you think? Is Colby ducking Khamzat by claiming a “brain injury”, or would the UFC send the latter directly to Usman? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jasmin is a writer-photographer who has worked in video games, music, travel, and more recently, MMA. Her fight background is in TKD, Muay Thai and Boxing though she's always wanted to roll with the BJJ crew. Follow her on Twitter @blaise_MMA

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