With a few adjustments, Gilbert Burns sees Khamzat Chimaev staying at welterweight for the foreseeable future.
Despite his success at 170 and 185 pounds, calls for Chimaev to move up permanently to the latter weight class have intensified following his massive miss on the scales ahead of his fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 279 this past September. ‘Borz’ and his team admitted that the weight cut was not done properly, but insisted this was an isolated incident that would not happen again.
As UFC president Dana White and co. figure out what to do with Chimaev as far as his weight class is concerned, Burns hopes his former opponent is given another chance at welterweight.
“I hope so,” Burns told Danny Segura of MMA Junkie. “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.”
Aside from discipline, Burns also advises Chimaev to surround himself with people who have his best interest in all facets of life. Seeing how he handled his recent situation, from flipping off fans to dismissing his critics, the Brazilian believes Chimaev may be misguided.
“I think it doesn’t matter how you start, it matters how you finish,” said Burns. “It don’t matter if that guy starts so big, so impressive. It matters how you finish, you know? As we see how this is going — I don’t know, the fans might like 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 that I had is you need to have guys that give you advice,” continued Burns. “I have guys that give me advice on money. I have my parents, they 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 on 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, good guys to help him out, making decisions. I think the guys he has around don’t help him make good decisions.”
Burns has not fought since suffering a unanimous decision loss to Chimaev in their ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate at UFC 273 in April.