It’s still unknown what Khamzat Chimaev will decide to do moving forward, but former foe, Gilbert Burns, is hoping the undefeated fighter keeps competing in the welterweight division.
After badly missing weight for his welterweight main event against Nate Diaz at UFC 279 last month Chimaev was rumored to be moving back up to 185 pounds. The Chechen fighter has fought a few times in the UFC’s middleweight division so the decision wasn’t completely shocking, but it did mean Khamzat would leave behind an opportunity to potentially fight for the welterweight title.
Earlier this month, Khamzat teased to stay at 170 pounds and push for a fight with fellow title contender Colby Covington. Nothing has materialized since then so it’s unknown exactly what will happen next, although the promotion has already looked at that matchup.
Burns, who fought Khamzat to a decision back at UFC 273, believes that Chimaev may be getting bad advice from the people around him. This includes his failed weight cut for UFC 279 and all of the bad publicity surrounding his last trip to the Octagon. “Durinho” suggests it may be time for Khamzat to surround himself with more positive energy.
“It doesn’t matter how you start, it matters how you finish,” Burns told MMA Junkie. “It don’t matter if that guy starts so big, so impressive. It matters how you finish, you know? … I don’t know, the fans might like all the drama; the not making weight, canceling your press conference, a lot of things. It’s hard to feel bad for this guy that’s making a lot of mistakes on just the beginning of his career.”
“One of the best advice I’ve had is to have guys that give you advice,” Burns added. “Like, I have guys that give me advice on money, my parents give me advice on family, I have guys that give me advice on fighting, I have my manager – I have a lot of guys that give me advice in my life. He needs those kind of guys, not just a bunch of crazy fighters that kind of go on his ego and make him go crazy. I think he’s still super young and I hope he changes. Khabib (Nurmagomedov) even said one thing, he needs more Muslims. With that being said, translating that, he needed good guys around him. Like good mentors, guys to help him out, making decisions. I think the guys he has around don’t help him make good decisions.”
Burns, who is one of the welterweight division’s best fighters, hopes that Khamzat stays put and finishes his business at 170 pounds. Others have celebrated the idea of Chimaev taking his dominant talents to the middleweight division, but Burns wants to see what Khamzat can do if he stays disciplined.
“I hope so,” said Burns when asked if Chimaev should stay at 170. “I know a lot of guys were celebrating that he’s going up. No, I want him to stay at 170. I think he can stay, just got to be disciplined, (but) it’s not just discipline. If you sign a contract and you put your name on it, you sign it, you gotta own it. You gotta be a man.
“I think he’s just too young. A lot of hype, a lot of things. … I lost a couple of fights because I had a very bad weight cut, but I still make the weight, you know? I don’t know, he’s just got to man up. Make sure he gets good mentors, good managers, good coaches, and people that gonna tell him the truth and help him be the best he can be, and honor the contract when he signs it.”