Why is Khamzat Chimaev still a welterweight?

Stephen Thompson thinks Khamzat Chimaev should move up to middleweight.

Chimaev missed weight by 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 in a 180-pound catchweight bout instead and ran through him in Round 1.

With Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) currently being linked to a matchup with former title challenger Colby Covington, “Wonderboy” is surprised to see him stick around at 170 pounds.

“From what I hear, he’s a very strong welterweight,” Thompson said in an interview with reporter 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 gonna be a fun fight. That’s gonna be a fun fight (against) somebody who’s as strong a wrestler as Khamzat. But the thing is, is he gonna make weight? Can he make weight?”

Thompson (16-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) will take on Holland (23-8 MMA, 10-5 UFC) next in the main event of UFC on ESPN 42 on Dec. 3 in Orlando. Although Holland was quickly submitted by Chimaev, Thompson thinks he put up a valiant effort considering “Borz’s” strength.

“Don’t take anything away from Kevin Holland after that fight,” Thompson said. “I mean, it was a days’ notice. Fighting somebody as big and strong and wrestling savvy as Chimaev, I thought he held his own right there in the first round. A lot of crazy scrambles. He’s very scrappy on the ground. He really is; Kevin is. Which was kinda messed up, he goes in to give him a high five and he (Chimaev) shoots right in for the legs, ends up taking him down. I’m like, oh, come on, man. Should’ve just 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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