Khamzat Chimaev is oozing confidence ahead of the biggest fight of his career.
Chimaev (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) meets former title challenger Gilbert Burns (20-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC 273 main card and could emerge as the No. 1 contender with an impressive win.
Although he’s only four fights into his UFC career, Chimaev has taken the MMA world by storm and has no doubt that he can handle both UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
“Usman almost handicapped, brother,” Chimaev said in an interview with Daniel Cormier. “His knees doesn’t work, his back hurts, his arm hurts, operation everywhere. The guy is too old, and he’s too slow. They wanna find a way to make money and go away from my way. Israel, I think he will fight me. I don’t think the guy is scared. That guy is gonna fight with me, and I will fight the guy, as well. But this is not my level, that guy. He gives his back to this guy (Whittaker) who never did wrestling in UFC, never took somebody down.”
Usman is currently recovering from hand surgery and is expected to face Leon Edwards in July. Chimaev said he’s been ready to fight for the title from the get-go and trusts UFC president Dana White’s word that he’ll get the next title shot should he emerge victorious against Burns.
“I can take that belt today,” Chimaev said. “Just send me location where is Usman, where is Israel. I’m gonna go and smash them both. I don’t know what the UFC is gonna do. I’m ready. I said it from my first fight: I come here to take my belt. I’m still saying that after my fights.”
With Usman a training partner of Burns at Sanford MMA, Chimaev hopes he will be in Burns’ corner so he can send the champ a message.
“I hope Kamaru will be there in his (Burns) corner, you know? Like talking, help him for training camp and some sh*it,” Chimaev said. “I hope he will be there. So when I knock (Burns) out, I’m gonna go to (Usman), ‘Jump in, you are next.’ So I can beat them both, same night.”
UFC 273 takes place Saturday at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
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Author: Farah Hannoun
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