Thompson had the feeling that the UFC wanted to make Chimaev the next Nurmagomedov after Nurmagomedov retired at UFC 254.
"Rankings is becoming a non-existent thing, it’s about the exciting fights," Thompson said on Submission Radio (via RT Sport). “I kind of called it. I was like, man, why are they pushing this Khamzat guy so hard. And then I was like, watch Khabib retire."
Chimaev is currently 3-0-0 under the UFC banner and is ranked #15 in the UFC welterweight division.
The welterweight star says this isn’t the first time the UFC has tried to replace one fighter with another.
"They kind of did the same thing with [Darren] Till. When [Michael] Bisping retired, they needed somebody from that market to keep those fans involved, and Till was it," Thompson explained. "I guess the same thing with Khamzat. They knew that Khabib was gonna retire and they needed somebody from that market, and there you go. You’ve got this Khamzat guy who’s been doing work."