MMA star Khamzat Chimaev earned a victory over the No. 2-ranked UFC welterweight on Saturday night, and now a battle with No. 1 Colby Covington looms large.
“Borz” fought heavy-handed striker and Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Gilbert Burns during the UFC 273 featured bout on April 9 in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a three-round slugfest, with both men hurting the other several times on the feet.
After the dust settled, Chimaev was awarded the victory by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). UFC president Dana White announced to the media after the event that the contest earned “Fight of the Night” honors.
When the official UFC rankings update next week, Chimaev will likely move from his current No. 11 spot into the top five, and possibly into “Durinho’s” No. 2 position. During fight week, the UFC president shared on “The Pat McAfee Show” that if Chimaev got past Burns at UFC 273, he’d look to schedule Covington vs. Chimaev for the ABC event later this year.
“I think that if Khamzat Chimaev wins this weekend, we see him and Colby Covington next,” White said via MMA Fighting.
“I have a fight coming up on ABC, and in a perfect world, if everything plays out right, I would love to do Khamzat vs. Colby if Khamzat should win on Saturday night,” White continued.
The date and venue for the event have not yet been announced.
White Said Covington vs. Chimaev Is ‘Big’
At the UFC 273 post-fight presser, White was asked for his opinion on how many viewers a scrap between “Chaos” and Chimaev could produce.
“I don’t know, but it’s big,” White said . “I mean you saw tonight. We’re in Jacksonville, Florida, with a Russian and a Brazilian not headlining, [but] the biggest fight of the night. Everybody’s going crazy. So, I think it’s a big fight.”
White was also asked if it was “better” for Chimaev to go through a war like he did with Burns instead of earning a quick finish. It was the longest fight of Borz’s UFC career, and he’ll take lessons from the fight that he never would have if he didn’t get pushed in the way that Durinho did.
“I don’t think it’s better, it’s inevitable,” White answered. “Nobody rolls through anybody when you’re at this level. Not to say that something couldn’t catch somebody and things like that, those things happen. But, you heard Gilbert. Gilbert said, ‘I was prepared to die tonight. I wasn’t going to come in here and roll over.'”
Chimaev Said He Would ‘Smash’ Covington’s Face
Speaking to the media during the post-fight presser, Chimaev confirmed his interest in fighting Covington next.
“I will fight everybody – of course, if (Covington) doesn’t call the cops,” Chimaev said via MMA Junkie. “If Dana White doesn’t go to jail, I’ll be happy to fight, come to the fight, and smash his face. … Of course (I’ll finish him).”
But, Chimaev is going to sit on the shelf for the next while as he heals up from the fight. And he’ll also work with his team and learn from the three-round war.
“I don’t know,” Chimaev continued. “When I come back, I come back. We go back home to Sweden and get some recovery. Then, (we) train harder and my team can talk about that.
“I have more motivation now, because I didn’t finish that guy. I want to finish everybody.”