Gilbert Burns proved to be the toughest test for upcoming prospect Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273.
‘Durinho’ took on the undefeated Chechen in a closely-fought three-round battle that ultimately saw Chimaev come out on top. It would mark the first time Chimaev would win on the judges’ scorecards having finished all his ten opponents prior. Andreas Michael, Chimaev’s coach, came out with a statement following the victory calling for a fight against the top contender Colby Covington next.
Gilbert Burns doesn’t think Khamzat Chimaev is on the same level as Kamaru Usman
Chimaev rose up to the second spot in the rankings after beating the former title challenger and has made his desire clear to take on the reigning UFC Welterweight king Kamaru Usman.
Burns is a former training partner of the champion and has shared the journey to the top from his first victory. The two went their separate ways after they were matched up against each other causing Usman to move over to Colorado to train under Trevor Wittman.
While Usman managed to finish Burns in their clash, Chimaev wasn’t successful in a similar fashion. Usman has talked about how his mindset elevates him over the rest of the competition and the 35-year-old Brazilian seems to agree.
“Kamaru, I think the IQ difference [over Khamzat] — IQ makes a lot of difference,” Burns told MMA Fighting. “I think Kamaru is very smart. He hits hard. Kamaru put me away. Three rounds, [Khamzat] couldn’t put me away. I think Kamaru does hit harder.
“I think Kamaru, the fight IQ with wrestling and striking is better than this guy. With the timing, the movement, with mixing things up, the feints, the angles, I think Kamaru is a level above this guy still.”
Burns acknowledged Chimaev’s durability and toughness but believes it’s nothing new for the pound-for-pound king.
“I think Khamzat will be tough, but it’s nothing Kamaru hasn’t seen,” Burns said. “I stuffed one takedown, he took me down one time, but nothing [serious]. Kamaru’s IQ is different.”
Burns backs Leon Edwards to be the toughest matchup
Usman has proven to be a dominant champion who is lapping his division beating contenders twice. Leon Edwards has been linked for a fight against ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ for over a year now but the bout has not materialized.
Burns believes that Edwards would be a tougher matchup for Usman than ‘Borz’.
“Leon Edwards, because of the striking, the movement,” Burns said. “I think Leon Edwards, people are kind of forgetting him a little bit with so much about Khamzat, but I still think Leon Edwards is very tough.”
As for the top contender Covington, UFC President Dana White said he’d like to see ‘Chaos’ face off against Chimaev on an ABC card but no official developments have been reported since.
“I think Colby hasn’t been tested,” Burns said. “He’s going to try to grapple against this guy. [Khamzat] has heavy hands. He’s got to respect that a little bit. One thing, that can be different is the Colby pace and cardio. He might be pushing that guy into the later rounds.
“We’ll see if that’s next, or if it will be Colby Covington and Khamzat Chimaev. That’s a little closer fight, but I just think Kamaru is a step above this guy.”