Not many fighters are being as talked about and highly touted as Chimaev right now. With a brief look at his short stint in the Octagon to date, it’s easy to see why.
After announcing his arrival in 2020 with two dominant displays against John Phillips and Rhys McKee in the space of 10 days, “Borz” took his talents to middleweight in his third outing, brutally knocking out veteran Gerald Meerschaert in just 17 seconds.
Having returned from a COVID-19 scare last October by choking ranked 170lber Li Jingliang unconscious inside the opening round, Chimaev is firmly on the center of the radar for fans and pundits.
In his next outing, the Chechen-born Swede will have the opportunity to jump into the upper echelons of the welterweight division when he faces his toughest test to date in the form of #2-ranked Gilbert Burns. The pair will collide at UFC 273 in Jacksonville this weekend.
While two title fights sit atop the April 9 pay-per-view card, it’s arguable that no bout is attracting more attention and discussion than this crucial welterweight clash.
Much of that discourse has been surrounding whether Chimaev is ready for the step-up in competition “Durinho” will represent, and if his potential is truly as high as many make it out to be.
According to Cormier, the sky is the limit for the 27-year-old.
Cormier: If There’s A Challenge To Usman’s Reign, It’s Chimaev
During a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin, Cormier discussed the odds for Chimaev’s clash with Burns, which have confused many in the MMA community.
Despite Burns’ experience, 2021 title challenge, and notable wins in the UFC, “Borz” is currently branded a -560 favorite against the Brazilian by BetOnline.ag. While “DC” admitted that the odds look high at first glance, he believes a closer look provides context to them.
“I think he’s the scariest contender we have seen for a while,” said Cormier. “And, look, the odds may seem high, but when you look at the odds and ask yourself, do you believe he wins? Maybe he doesn’t dominate, but at the end of it, do you think he wins the fight against Gilbert Burns?
“And when you’re asking yourself that and you go, ‘Yeah, I think so,’ it doesn’t matter if the odds are -100, if it’s even, it’s still just saying that they believe he’s going to win,” added Cormier. “Because they believe he’s going to win, and think he’s going to win impressively, they make it to where you have to risk so much in order to make anything.”
Further driving home how high he is on Chimaev’s abilities, Cormier described the #11-ranked contender as the biggest threat to the lengthy reign of UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman.
“I do believe he’s the most scary contender we’ve had for a while, because there’s just so many unknowns… There’s just so many questions. Every time, he comes in, he dominates, he’s gone… He’s very scary. To say anyone would knock off Kamaru Usman is a lot, but if there’s a guy who seems to be a challenge, it seems to be this guy,” concluded Cormier.
While his decimation of “The Leech” brought many of his detractors on his side, there are some who remain unwilling to buy into the hype until Chimaev knocks off a top-10 contender.
If “Borz” deals with Burns, whose only defeat at welterweight came against Usman last year, it’s safe to say not many will be doubting his title credentials any longer.
Do you agree with Daniel Cormier’s take on Khamzat Chimaev?