Monday, May 16, 2022

Gilbert Burns: Alexander Gustafsson Is Overhyping Khamzat Chimaev

UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns believes Swedish veteran Alexander Gustafsson has been overhyping his Allstar Training Center teammate Khamzat Chimaev.

In four Octagon appearances, Chimaev has established himself as one of the fastest-rising stars in the UFC. His latest outing, a first-round submission of ranked contender Li Jingliang last October at UFC 267, saw “Borz” break into the rankings.

With that progress in mind, and with many expecting the Chechen-born Swede to be the biggest challenge for reigning champion Kamaru Usman, Chimaev is set for his toughest test to date at UFC 273 when he enters the cage with the #2-ranked Gilbert Burns.

But while “Durinho” boasts wins over names like Stephen Thompson, Tyron Woodley, and Demian Maia, has fought for the welterweight gold, and has entered the UFC Octagon 17 times, the oddsmakers are firmly favoring Chimaev, and they’re not the only ones.

Chimaev’s compatriot and training partner Gustafsson, who knows what it takes to reach the upper echelons on MMA’s biggest stage, sang the welterweight’s praises in an interview with ESPN MMA earlier this year.

“The Mauler” even suggested that Chimaev has what it takes to enter the GOAT conversation down the line.

“That’s the level of potential (possible GOAT status), one hundred percent. He does all the things that if you do it right from the start, if he keeps doing what he’s doing now, he will be one of those guys one day, I’m one hundred percent sure of it,” Gustafsson said.

Despite Gustafsson’s first-hand experience training with Chimaev, Burns isn’t buying the claims.

Burns Put Gustafsson’s Chimaev Praise Down To ‘Hyping His Guy’

During a recent interview with The Underground’s John Morgan, Burns assessed Chimaev’s skills and the level to which many fans and pundits are holding him at. While the Brazilian admits “Borz” is talented, he sees Gustafsson’s previous comments as “hyping” his teammate, rather than a genuine assessment of his ability.

“I think he is very good. For sure, people get crazy excited, ‘Oh, he’s a murderer, he’s blah, blah, blah, whatever…’ I think they get (too) excited, but for sure, he’s very good,” said Burns. “The way we say in Portuguese, we don’t lie, but we make it bigger. It’s not a lie, the guy is very good, but they make him a super monster.

“I don’t see, like, ‘Wow, that’s a monster.’ Gustafsson, I don’t even wanna go to that point, but Gustafsson said, ‘Oh, the guy’s this and that,’ but, yeah, my only training partner that I trained with that fought with Gustafsson was Anthony Rumble, and we see how that fight went. So I think Gustafsson is very good, these guys are very good, but they are kinda hyping their guy a little bit more,” concluded Burns.

Anthony Johnson faced and defeated Gustafsson at a Stockholm-held UFC Fight Night in 2015. At the time, “Rumble” trained alongside Burns at the now-defunct Blackzilians. “Durinho” appears to be suggesting Gustafsson’s loss to Johnson makes him less inclined to take the Swede’s assessment of Chimaev too seriously.

Either way, we’ll find out when the pair collide at UFC 273 on April 9.

Do you agree with Gilbert Burns? Is Alexander Gustafsson over-hyping Khamzat Chimaev’s abilities and potential?

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