Sunday, May 22, 2022

Burns Explains Why Chimaev’s Size Isn’t A Big Advantage

UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns has rubbished the narrative that Khamzat Chimaev‘s size advantage could prove to be the difference at UFC 273.

Tonight, one of the promotion’s fastest rising and most highly-touted stars will make his fifth walk to the Octagon. When Chimaev does, it’ll be to face his toughest test to date in the form of #2-ranked contender Burns.

The fanbase appears split between those who expect “Borz” to maintain his dominance and those who believe “Durinho” will upset the lopsided odds. One thing that appeared to add some added confidence to those backing the Chechen-born Swede was an interaction between the pair early in fight week.

Burns and Chimaev came together in the fighter hotel in Jacksonville on Wednesday. With both donning towels, the two welterweight elites had the chance to size each other up. Expressing a belief he’d previously mentioned in interviews, the #11-ranked Chimaev told Burns, “You’re small, brother.”

But while the size difference has led many to believe Chimaev will have no issue implementing his relentless wrestling game when they share the cage, Burns doesn’t feel disadvantaged.

Burns: I Don’t Have To Cut A Lot Of Weight, Chimaev Does

During an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, Burns acknowledged the emphasis put on Chimaev’s size.

As well as breaking into 170-pound contention, “Borz” has also entered the Octagon as a middleweight. He collided with divisional mainstay Gerald Meerschaert in September 2020, knocking “GM3” out in just 17 seconds.

But despite his opponent’s imposing stature, Burns doesn’t agree it will play a major factor this weekend. That’s because with the extra weight comes a larger cut, something the Brazilian, who formerly competed at lightweight, doesn’t have to worry about.

“I’m doing a lot of interviews and people always asking (about) size. I just have one answer – as big as you are, it’s more weight you’ve gotta cut,” pointed out Burns. “So he’s on you know, the same thing. If you’re very big, merry Christmas, you’ve gotta cut a lot of weight. It’s not easy… That was hurting my performance (at lightweight) a lot.

“So don’t (say), ‘Ah, he’s very big, Burns used to be at ’55,’ whatever. I don’t have to cut a lot of weight. I’m very strong, I’m a tank at that division; heavy grappling, heavy hands. It is what it is. I asked for this fight and I’m excited,” concluded Burns.

Despite Burns’ credentials, which include a title challenge in 2021, UFC victories over Stephen Thompson, Tyron Woodley, and Demian Maia, and multiple BJJ championships, Chimaev’s usual confidence hasn’t wavered.

While “Borz” will be looking to “smesh” his way to Kamaru Usman, “Durinho” will be targeting a second shot at welterweight gold and the emphatic stopping of the fast-traveling Chimaev hype train.

How do you think Khamzat Chimaev’s size advantage will play into his clash with Gilbert Burns at UFC 273?

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