Stepping into the Octagon for his fifth fight under the UFC banner, Khamzat Chimaev (11-0-0, 5-0-0 UFC) kept the hype train chugging along at full speed with hard fought victory against #2 ranked welterweight Gilbert Burns.
Both fighters opted to keep the 15 minute affair on the feet, trading power shots back and forth throughout. In the first round, Chimaev showed a clear advantage in strength, but Burns refused to go away and bounced back in the second round, landing bombs to even up the fight. Burns slowed noticeably in the third allowing Chimaev to tee off on him against the cage.
Unwilling to go down without a fight, Burns pushed back late in the third landing multiple strikes, but it wasn’t enough to make up the difference. Chimaev earned the unanimous decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in the evening’s featured bout.
With the win over Burns, Chimaev will most certainly find himself in the welterweight top five. Though many expected a win to result in a shot against current welterweight king Kamaru Usman, UFC president Dana White stated that a win by ‘Borz’ at UFC 273 would likely result in a showdown with #1 ranked contender Colby Covington.
“I think that if Khamzat Chimaev wins this weekend, we see him and Colby Covington next,” White said on The Pat McAfee Show. “I have a fight coming up on ABC, and in a perfect world, if everything plays out right, I would love to do Khamzat vs. Colby if Khamzat should win on Saturday night,” White said.
Chimaev and Covington do have a history of bringing up one another. Recently, Chimaev said that he would welcome a fight with ‘Chaos’ and claimed that he would do what Jorge Masvidal couldn’t by knocking out Covington.
“If Usman (will be out for a long time), I’d fight with Colby, and I’d kill that guy. Nobody could (really) knock him out,” he told The MMA Hour. “(You have to) knock him out like (he’s) dead, (so he can’t) talk more. That’s how to do it. Usman couldn’t do that, Masvidal couldn’t do that. I’m gonna do it.”
When asked whether he would entertain fighting Chimaev, Covington said that ‘Borz’ would first need to beat “someone worthy.”
“He’s a joke. He needs to beat someone worthy — someone in the top 5, someone in the top of the rankings, not just fight hand-picked people.” Covington said of Chimaev while speaking with MMA Fighting.
Now that Chimaev has done just that, it looks like a clash with the always controversial Colby Covington is just a matter of time.
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