Khamzat Chimaev proved the hype was real by defeating Gilbert Burns — the No. 2-ranked welterweight in the world — on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card of UFC 273 last Sat. night (April 9, 2022) inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., taking home a 29-28 sweep on the judges’ scorecards.
It stands as one of the best fights of the year.
The victory did more for Chimaev than just solidify his place among the 170-pound elite, it elevated “Borz” to bona fide title contender. That said, UFC President Dana White already promised to give the next welterweight title shot to Leon Edwards, who is expected to battle division kingpin Kamaru Usman during International Fight Week in July.
So what does UFC do with Chimaev?
White suggested a potential showdown against Colby Covington and in theory, that fight would make a nice addition to the Usman-Edwards undercard at UFC 276. If the timeline doesn’t work for either combatant, you could also put Chimaev against the winner of Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad, who throw hands at UFC Vegas 51 later this month.
Both “The Silent Assassin” and “Remember the Name” are ranked in the Top 5 so it wouldn’t be a step back for Chimaev, who improved to 11-0 with 10 finishes after outlasting Burns in “The Sunshine State.” The undefeated Sean Brady — currently ranked No. 8 — is lurking just around the corner and will likely fit somewhere into that 170-pound puzzle.
See the complete welterweight Top 15 right here.
Even though Chimaev didn’t steamroll Burns like he promised, the fight taught us things we probably wouldn't have learned with a 30-second knockout or wrestle-heavy decision. The Brazilian landed multiple bombs and dragged “Borz” into deep water but Chimaev never wavered or stopped moving forward, demonstrating tremendous heart and durability.
And some shoddy defense.
Usman, however, is undefeated inside the Octagon, has won 19 straight fights, and is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world. If Chimaev is going to take that fight he’ll need to prove he can make the necessary adjustments. A dominant performance his next time out will no doubt seal the deal, it’s just a question of finding a willing opponent.
As of this writing, no social media remarks from either Usman or Covington.
For complete UFC 273: “Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie” results and play-by-play, click HERE!