The UFC has been trying to book a headlining fight with their budding star Khamzat Chimaev (9-0). The promotion is wanting to have Chimaev headline a Fight Night in November once they return from this latest stint on Fight Island.
The UFC had been offering the fight to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (15-4-1). However, Wonderboy didn’t seem interested and instead has spent his time calling out Leon Edwards (18-3) for a fight. Both of those men rank inside the UFC‘s top five at welterweight.
Dana White said that the UFC was close to finalizing a matchup for Chimaev that was not Demian Maia. Maia was originally supposed to fight Chimaev if Chimaev defeated Gerald Meerschaert. After Chimaev knocked out Meerschaert in 14 seconds, the promotion had other plans.
The UFC appeared to still be angling for the Wonderboy fight. However, Wonderboy has continued to turn the fight down. He elaborated more on his YouTube channel saying, “No, Iâ€™m not fighting him, man. I mean, it just doesnâ€™t make sense for me at this point. Iâ€™m ranked No. 5 to fight a guy who is unranked?”
UFC’s booking issue
You can’t really blame Wonderboy for his train of thought. Wonderboy has been grinding for years in the UFC‘s welterweight division and he’s fought for the title twice. This would be a total stepping stone type of fight for Chimaev.
If you’re asking me, Thompson is thinking correctly. The fight to make is between Thompson and Leon Edwards. Both of those UFC welterweights need a fight, and they are both in the top five. Edwards wants a high profile fight, but most of the top contenders are booked.
The UFC then has an issue with Chimaev. I’m not sure if Maia decided to turn down the fight, but that to me was still the fight to make. Chimaev would be a massive favorite, but Maia has challenged for UFC gold multiple times in his career.
It would be a massive name and a big victory for the Russian. White said that the UFC was close to announcing something, but it wasn’t Maia. We now know it’s not Thompson either. I’m going to be really interested to see who the UFC decides to book across from Khamzat Chimaev next.