Khamzat Chimaev is reportedly close to being booked against his first top-5 opponent in Gilbert Burns.
According to a report from Swedish MMA source Frontkick.online, a bout between Chimaev and Burns is being discussed for January. Chimaev has expressed a desire to return to the Octagon in December after his dominant return at UFC 267 against Li Jingliang, so this falls within the same general time frame. Chimaev has yet to face even the slightest waft of adversity during his remarkable UFC start, only being hit one time in four fights. The phenom currently has a professional MMA record of 10-0.
Gilbert Burns is currently ranked #2 at welterweight, so if this bout is finalized, a victory for Chimaev could secure a title shot. #1-ranked Colby Covington just had a second crack at champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 268, and Leon Edwards is currently unbooked and ranked one spot below Burns at #3. A Chimaev victory over Burns would likely skyrocket him up to #2 with more large sticks of dynamite hype strapped to his back, thus making a title shot for the rising star extremely difficult to shoot down.
All Signs Point To Chimaev vs. Burns Being Finalized
Khamzhat Chimaev, Gilbert Burns
Although the Frontkick report explicitly stated that it is not a done deal, all signs point to this bout coming together.
First, Chimaev and Dana White both expressed interest in Borz being the next opponent for Nate Diaz in what would be the final fight on the veteran’s contract. However, Diaz has not returned that interest, and White is on the record saying that Burns would be a nice second option for Chimaev in the event the Diaz fight did not come together.
Additionally, hours after this report broke, an MMA Junkie interview with Burns was released, and he expressed a willingness to give Chimaev an opportunity if the two were paired together. Also in the same interview, Burns stated that he has been harassing the UFC for a fight and that he would sign the contract without even looking at the opponent’s name.
Therefore, with both Burns and Chimaev openly stating that they are eager to return and both men also stating they are willing to fight anyone, this bout may just be confirmed at any moment.
If that confirmation comes down or if this bout falls through, either way, we’ll bring you the scoop on this developing story right here on MMANews.com.
Posted from Source