What seemed like a cordial hotel exchange between UFC 273 welterweight opponents Khamzat Chimaev and Gilbert Burns took on new life at their pre-fight press conference on Thursday.
Video released on Wednesday showed the two exchanging words while in towels at the host Jacksonville hotel, with Chimaev firing off some good-natured trash talk.
“I’ve got you now. Come, we’ll fight naked,” Chimaev told Burns. “You want to fight me naked?”
He continued: “Ah, you’re small, brother. You have to eat much, brother. Eat banana, brother. Chocolate. … Show me power, brother.”
Chimaev was much more animated at the pre-fight presser, slamming the table and predicting a first-round knockout.
“I’m going to smash that guy, knock him out in one minute [or] less,” Chimaev told those in attendance. “I promise you. He’s too little, boy. He’s a scared boy.
“I said to him yesterday show his power. He couldn’t show that. He said I’ll show you Saturday and he turned around. I was there. You’re too little brother. You have to go to other divisions.”
Chimaev Looking to Make Burns ‘Unrecognizable’
Burns promised to show his power during the fight but Chimaev was not having it, constantly interrupting and dominating the microphone time.
“I’m gonna kill that guy,” Chimaev said. “I have power in my hands. I don’t care what I’m going to do. I’m going to jump in the cage and smash that guy. I don’t care. He will be down [on the ground], I will smash his face. If it will be standup, I will knock him out. I don’t care.”
Chimaev continued to make bold promises about what he was going to do to Burns in the octagon, saying he was going to make “Durinho” unrecognizable if he managed to survive the first round — a feat only one fighter has done in the UFC against Chimaev.
“If he survives the first round, his face, you won’t recognize him. It will be somebody different. I will finish him in the first round.
“That guy cry at all his fights,” Chimaev added of Burns. “When he loses the fights, he cries. He lose to my coach [Alan Nascimento] three times, he cries every time. He’s going to do the same thing again.”
Burns Says His Fight is the ‘Real Main Event’
There are two title fights on the card at UFC 273 but there’s a massive amount of hype for the scrap between Chimaev and Burns. It’s the biggest test for “Borz” in the UFC so far and would put Burns in a position for a title shot if he wins.
“I’m on my way back to the title,” Burns said. “I gave this guy the opportunity. I’m the No. 2 [ranked welterweight], he’s No. 11. I give him the opportunity because I want to face the toughest guys, the best guys in this division. It’s just going to be another step closer to the title.
“We are the real main event. No disrespect to the champions for sure. Sorry [Alexander] Volkanovski, but we’re the people’s main event.”
Despite being the lower-ranked fighter, Chimaev is a massive favorite for the fight. He’s -550 to take home the win.