Welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev said that his Brazilian rival was ‘small’ and should eat more
UFC prospect Khamzat Chimaev and Brazilian rival Gilbert Burns were involved in a friendly hotel face-off when the pair crossed paths by chance ahead of their clash in Florida this weekend.
Chimaev is attempting to work his way towards a title shot against welterweight king and pound-for-pound great Kamaru Usman, but one-time challenger to the Nigerian’s crown Burns stands in his way.
As the pair prepare to meet at UFC 273 on Saturday, though, they bumped into each other in their hotel in Jacksonville where the card will take place and exchanged words in a meeting captured by Swedish MMA account Frontkick and Fightscout.
With both men walking down the corridor wearing just towels, Burns laughs when he sees Chimaev, who then goes over to shake his hand while saying: “Ah, I’ve got you now! Come, we’ll fight naked!”
“You’re small brother,” Chimaev chides Burns.
“You have to each much, brother. Eat banana, brother. Chocolate, brother.”
“I don’t need it,” Burns claims, which prompts Chimaev to ask him: “Are you sure?”
“Show me power, brother,” Chimaev demands.
“I will show you on Saturday,” Burns replies, to which Chimaev responds “I hope so” as he taps his fist against Burns’ chest.
As communicated by his relaxed demeanor, 20-4 veteran Burns doesn’t seem to be intimidated by his Stockholm-based, Russian-born foe Chimaev, who was swept aside everyone on his way to a 10-0 record in brutal fashion.
“[He’s] nothing special,” Burns claimed at UFC 273’s media day. “I think his wrestling is very good. His control, his ground-and-pound is good. And the fact that he’s very long helps, too, so he gets good grips, good control, knows where to put the weight.
“[He’s] very technical, [and] hits hard,” Burns continued. “But the opponents didn’t do too well. Those guys don’t know how to get up. The other ones don’t know how to wrestle. I don’t even know, I got to look at it to watch it, but his first two UFC opponents, do you know their name? Anyone? No one knows.
“For sure, they’re pretty tough to be in the UFC, but they’re not Gilbert Burns. They’re not in the top of the division. So, all due respect, sorry for you if you were one of these guys, no offense, but I’m in the top of the division, you know?” Burns offered.
“I give this guy the opportunity. I want to fight him because I believe he’s very good, but I don’t see a monster, I see a human being.
“[He’s] confident, a little bit cocky, undefeated, thinks he’s the best, untouchable – but we shall see. We shall see Saturday,” Burns continued.
“This guy is very tough, but we’re gonna test and see if this guy is real or not,” Burns also said about Chimaev.
“I’m here. I’m the guy to test this guy, to stop the hype train. So, I like it. I’m here in this position. I asked to be here. I want to fight the best guys. If he’s one of those, if he’s that beast, that’s the guy I want to fight.”
In his own appearance before the press, Chimaev continued exuding confidence by claiming he is “already the champ” of the 170lbs division.
“That guy doesn’t want to fight me. He goes out to do the surgery and then he wants to go do the boxing somewhere,” Chimaev said of Usman.
“He can fix his arm and then go do the boxing, I don’t know. The other guy [Leon Edwards], he didn’t fight somebody in the top 10,” Chimaev noted of Usman’s supposed next opponent, who Chimaev himself was also meant to meet in March 2021.
“They always find some excuse. I am already the champ. People know that,” Chimaev boasted.
“They have to give me that title,” Chimaev went on to say. “I want to smash everyone. They have to give me that title if I smash everyone. Who is going to be next? I don’t care.”
“If they do that fight [between Usman and Edwards]- [does] somebody care about that fight? I don’t think so. Dana White wants to make that fight. Leon Edwards, nobody knows that guy and Usman, he’s the same. Nobody wants to see that guy. Everybody wants to see me there and smash them both. If they give me both guys the same night, I’m going to smash them both,” Chimaev threatened.
Able to make both welterweight and middleweight, Chimaev claims that fans also want to see him take on middleweight champion and Usman’s compatriot in Israel Adesanya.
“Nobody knows [Kamaru Usman]. He’s old. Izzy is more fresh and young like me and I think he wants me as well because he already fought everyone at [middleweight]. He’s like me. He wants to fight everyone. I want to do the same.”
Currently ranked 11 in the welterweight division, Chimaev is by no means guaranteed a shot at Usman by beating Burns. Instead, Usman’s two-time title fight victim Colby Covington could be a possible stepping stone, except Chimaev doesn’t think neither the UFC nor Covington will be keen on making the potential bout.
“I will be happy if they do that [fight] but I don’t think so,” Chimaev confessed. “That guy [doesn’t] want to fight me. He’s going to go to the cops. He’s going to go to the cops, call the cops. Dana White will be in jail if they make that fight.”
“He talks too much in the media and then when he sees the face-to-face, he goes to the cops,” Chimaev said of Covington, who pressed charges against UFC 272 headline foe Jorge Masvidal over a sucker punch altercation outside a Miami steakhouse recently. “He’s not that guy. To me, if I’m honest, the UFC has to kick him out. He’s a b***h,” Chimaev said.
Though their hotel meeting was cordial, Chimaev also questioned Burns’ credentials.
“What has he done in this division?” Chimaev posed. “He loses when it comes to Usman. He loses and starts to cry. He beat [an] old man, what’s his name? Demian Maia. [He’s] almost 40 years old. Who is he beating in there?
“I will fight [middleweight] or [welterweight] and he comes up from [lightweight] and he starts to cry when he loses his fight. He can’t do nothing to me. I’m going to smash that guy,” Chimaev vowed.