Ali Abdelaziz has suggested the rumored fight between Khamzat Chimaev and Gilbert Burns is much more “meaningful” for the welterweight division than the UFC 272 main event grudge match between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.
After the withdrawal of Max Holloway saw some re-shuffling for the third and fourth pay-per-views of the year, UFC 272 was left without its originally scheduled bantamweight and featherweight title fights, and in need of a new headliner.
What better replacement than two former friends and teammates-turned bitter rivals hashing out their differences for five rounds?
On March 5, fans will be treated to exactly that as former title challengers Covington and Masvidal look to settle their differences in a unique non-title main event.
While the backstory and feud make this one of the most anticipated headliners of the year for fans and pundits, one man believes it has little effect on the 170-pound weight class.
During an interview with MMA Junkie, Abdelaziz, a renowned MMA manager, suggested that given both men are 0-2 against reigning champion Kamaru Usman, the UFC 272 main event lacks any real stakes in the context of the division. Instead, he believes one of his clients’ rumored next fight is the one to watch for at welterweight.
Talk of a fight between rising star Chimaev and #2-ranked contender Burns has existed for a while now and has certainly intensified in recent weeks. Abdelaziz, who manages “Durinho” and used to work with “Borz,” believes that matchup is much more meaningful than the March PPV main event.
“Listen, it doesn’t matter who Gilbert is gonna fight next. Gilbert, this is what he’s built for, he likes to fight. It can be anybody, Gilbert’s gonna put his hand up… If it’s Khamzat, Gilbert’s gonna fight Khamzat,” said Abdelaziz. “Great fight, I think it’s a great fight; one of the best. This is a meaningful fight. They’ve got the Masvidal and Colby (fight), I don’t think it’s a meaningful fight. I think Khamzat and Gilbert is a meaningful fight. Whoever wins can fight for the title. You’ve got the other two guys, they’re 0-2 against the champion.
“I think (Chimaev vs. Burns) is a meaningful fight for the division,” added Abdelaziz. “Gilbert is a very good test. Gilbert (was) very close to becoming a champion. He’s the only guy to ever come close to even wobbling Kamaru or punching him… But I think if this fight happens, Gilbert is in. And I know Khamzat is probably in, too. Now it’s up to the UFC. They have to pull the trigger and make this fight happen.”
Chimaev & Burns Seemingly Agreed To UFC 273 Clash
Reports suggesting the UFC was targeting Chimaev’s fifth Octagon outing to be against Burns first emerged towards the back end of last year. While they initially pointed towards a January clash, talk seemed to disappear for a number of weeks, leading many to believe the promotion had gone in a different direction.
But earlier this month, both the Brazilian and the Chechen-born Swede showed that the possibility of their booking was alive and well.
In a story posted to Instagram by Chimaev, private messages exchanged between the two welterweight contenders appeared to show them agreeing to a fight on April 9, a date slated to host the UFC 273 pay-per-view.
With a featherweight title bout between Alexander Volkanovski and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung already set for the event, as well as the long-awaited bantamweight unification showdown between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan, the addition of Chimaev and Burns would certainly strengthen the PPV into one of the most stacked of the year so far.
If the fight comes to fruition, who do you think will win, Gilbert Burns or Khamzat Chimaev?
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