Khamzat Chimaev believes he is two fights away from challenging for the UFC welterweight title.
Since debuting in the UFC in 2020, Chimaev has gone a perfect 4-0, winning a Performance of the Night bonus in each of his outings. Even more impressively, in his four octagon appearances, Chimaev’s opponents have collectively landed just one significant strike on the outspoken fighter. This level of dominance has helped Chimaev rise up to the top in the welterweight division. He is the current No. 10 ranked fighter in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings. Now, all signs point to Chimaev taking on former welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns next — a fight Chimaev is very confident he will win.
“All those numbers mean nothing,” Chimaev told RT Sport. To be truthful, I do not see any real challenge in him. We’ll see. It’s possible for anything to happen during a fight but I remain confident. He will be beaten by my power and skills. That is how I feel. Although he might not feel the same, I’ll go with him and continue to do what I did last .”
The last time Chimaev competed, he mauled welterweight contender Li Jingliang, putting “The Leech” to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the first round. And should Chimaev be able to make good on his prediction against Burns, “Borz” believes that fight will be a stepping stone to a No. 1 contender’s match, or possibly even an interim title fight against the winner of UFC 272’s main event between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.
“I think they will give us a great fight. Masvidal is my slight favourite, but Colby is tough. He is a fighter. “We’ll see,” Chimaev stated. “I think it’s 50/50. It doesn’t matter which one wins. Now, I’m fighting Burns. After beating Burns I hope to fight Masvidal-Covington. It seems that Usman is suffering from a hand injury, and will need time to heal. I hope he will recover soon. I am waiting for this guy, too. I look forward to fighting him.
“But for now I think the winner of our fight with Gilbert will fight the winner of Masvidal-Covington for the interim title or just the No. 1 contender spot. Then Usman should come back and we will fight him. It seems like a great plan .”
Usman has been sidelined since he underwent hand surgery. He is unlikely to be back until the summer. Leon Edwards will be the next contender for the title of welterweight when Usman is back.
All of Chimaev’s plans depend on Burns being booked by the UFC. Even though they have been arguing on social media, no official agreement for a bout has yet been signed. The delay isn’t a concern for Chimaev. According to Chimaev, the Swedish fighter is working to renew his U.S. visa and says that even if Burns doesn’t agree to sign him, he will gladly take on any other person on his way to his title.
“I have no problem if the other guy doesn’t sign the contract,” Chimaev said. “That’s it. Anyway, I don’t care. If Burns doesn’t sign it, anyone from the top 10 [works]. I just need to fight, get my money, and move forward. If I kill everybody one by one, they won’t get away from me.”