Chael Sonnen slams top UFC welterweights for being “scared” of Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev, Chael Sonnen
Image via @khamzat_chimaev on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Former fighter and MMA analyst Chael Sonnen believes the UFC’s top welterweights are all “scared” of rising prospect Khamzat Chimaev.

The UFC welterweight top 5 is currently jam-packed with elite talent like champ Kamaru Usman, and top contenders Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal. Unfortunately, the division’s top fighters haven’t been particularly active of late, and Sonnen believes that’s due in part to the arrival of Chimaev.

Sonnen opened up on the situation in the welterweight division on the latest episode of ESPN’s Ariel & The Bad Guy show.

“170 pounds has been a little bit baffling right now,” Sonnen said. “[These fighters need to] get up, get to work and get busy. I don’t know what all of these guys are doing. They all got scared of [Khamzat] Chimaev—they don’t want to admit that, but they did.

“Are you guys fighters or not?”

Khamzat Chimaev was the breakout UFC star of summer, 2020. The Chechen-Swede first picked up two wins in the span of 10 days on Fight Island in July, first defeating John Phillips by first-round submission at middleweight and Rhys McKee by first-round TKO at welterweight. He then picked up his third win of the season when he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert at middleweight, also in the first round.

While Chimaev is definitely a promising prospect, there are some holes in the argument Sonnen put forth. Leon Edwards, the UFC’s No. 3-ranked welterweight contender, has been scheduled to fight Chimaev three times, withdrawing from the matchup once himself, while Chimaev withdrew the other two times. Based on the fact that he accepted a fight with Chimaev, there’s really no arguing that he’s scared of the prospect.

Furthermore, Chimaev is just 1-0 in the UFC welterweight division, with his lone win coming against McKee, who has since been released from the promotion’s roster. So, while Chael Sonnen believes the UFC’s top welterweights are scared of Chimaev, it’s more likely that they’re just not interested in fighting such an unproven fighter. Chimaev is also currently sidelined with complications due a previous COVID-19 infection, so it’s not like he can fight right now anyway.

What do you think of these comments from Chael Sonnen?

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