UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya would be an easier fight than 170-pound king Kamaru Usman for rising welterweight Khamzat Chimaev. That’s what “Borz” said during a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour.”
Chimaev (10-0 MMA) is 4-0 as a UFC fighter, which includes two stoppages as a middleweight and two as a welterweight. At this point in time, Borz has picked to stick in the welterweight lane and he’s set to fight No. 2-ranked 170 pounder Gilbert Burns on April 9 at UFC 273.
Borz fully expects to take out Burns, which would place him either in a title fight against Usman or at the very least, a top contender bout. And once he secures welterweight gold, Chimaev appears to have every intention to move to 185 pounds and battle “The Last Stylebender.”
Well, Chimaev expects to have an easier time with Adesanya than Usman inside the Octagon.
“Izzy, I think it will be more easy for me to smash that guy [than Kamaru Usman],” Chimaev said via MMA Fighting. “He has zero wrestling. The guy he fought last time, he’s not a wrestler — he took his back. If I take his back, brother, I’ll squeeze his head off. I’ll take his head off. Easy money for me.”
Burns Expects His Fight With Chimaev to Be ‘A War’
Burns is on his own path toward challenging for UFC gold. After he was unable to secure it in his match with Usman last year at UFC 258, “Durinho” bounced back at UFC 264 and put on a dominating performance over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
He’s 7-1 in his last eight contests and with a win over Chimaev, Burns will place himself at the door of another title fight. But he doesn’t expect his fight with Borz next month to be an easy night at the office.
“The perfect scenario, I’ll go there and take the guy out with a punch,” Burns said via the outlet. “Boom, knockout! That was the perfect scenario but I think it’s gonna be a war. I don’t think it’s gonna be that easy. I think that guy’s a dog, he’s gonna come hungry, excited trying to put on a show.”
Burns knows how deadly Chimaev has been as a professional mixed martial artist, and he’s taking Borz “very seriously.”
“I think [Khamzat’s] very tough, I think he’s very good, but let’s be honest, he’s never seen on one on my caliber, grappling wise, jiu-jitsu, striking, speed, in a lot of actual experience,” Burns continued. “I’ve been there many times in the UFC title fights, many events. I think I have a lot of experience but I see that guy very, very tough — very, very dangerous. I’ll take him very seriously.”
Chimaev Doesn’t Expect Burns to Be a Challenge
Chimaev isn’t giving Burns the same sort of respect, however. In a recent interview with RT Sport, Borz expressed that he doesn’t see Durinho as much of a challenge.
“To be honest, I don’t see a real challenge in him,” Chimaev said via MMA Fighting. “We’ll see. Everything may happen in a fight, but I am confident as usual. I think I will just smash him with my skills and power. I feel that way. He might feel different, but I will go there and do what I did the last time.”