Thursday, January 27, 2022

Gilbert Burns: I Cannot Wait to Fight Khamzat Chimaev

If Gilbert Burns was not next up for a title shot, it appears he would not have hesitated to be Khamzat Chimaev’s first ranked opponent.

Prior to Khamzat Chimaev being booked against Leon Edwards, it appeared the UFC was having a hard time finding him an opponent they felt was appropriate. Though Neil Magny repeatedly offered his services, other ranked fighters like Stephen Thompson, Michael Chiesa, and even Leon Edwards himself expressed disinterest in fighting Chimaev. Thompson was particularly vocal, stating that Chimaev fighting an opponent ranked as high as Leon Edwards (#3) was disrespectful to the sport of MMA:

“I had to fight through murderer’s row to get to where I’m at and so did Leon Edwards,” Thompson said. “He was on a (eight-fight) winning streak to get to where he’s at. I had to fight a slew of guys, I mean tough opponents. Robert Whittaker, Jake Ellenberger, Rory McDonald, Johny Hendricks to get to where I’m at, and then this guy just jumps past everybody. I think it’s a slap in the face to everybody who’s worked their butts off.”

Contrast the above statement to the incoming comments from Gilbert Burns, who is currently ranked #2 in the welterweight division. Burns is very eager to compete against Khamzat Chimaev, apparently with no regard for Chimaev’s current ranking.

“Khamzat, I think I match up very good. I cannot wait to fight Chimaev,” Burns said on the TSN MMA Show. “He’s one of the guys that I really want to fight. I want to grapple, I want to scramble with him, I want to see his wrestling, how high level he is. I want to grapple with him. I want to scramble. I want to strike with him.”

Khamzat Chimaev’s management need to print out Gilbert Burns’s statement, place it in an envelope, and mail it to the UFC management and Burns’s management team if Burns wins the welterweight championship to ensure they receive a title shot. Then again, judging from the speed of his push, the Chimaev camp would likely only need to sit back and wait for the title shot to find him should he defeat Edwards on March 13.

How do you think a fight between Gilbert Burns and Khamzat Chimaev would play out?

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