Khamzat Chimaev proved he’s one of the top welterweights in the UFC last night. At UFC 273 he bested former title challenger Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision. Chimaev didn’t have it all his own way, but despite being bloodied and bruised in the contest he managed to prove that much of the hype behind him was well-placed.
After passing the stiffest test of his young career, the 11-0 ‘Borz’ was evasive during his post-fight press conference. The Chechen-born Swede repeatedly answered “I don’t care” to various questions posed by reporters.
Eventually, Chimaev decided to reveal something a little interesting when asked about who he wants to face next. UFC President Dana White has talked up former two-time title challenger Colby Covington as the next man up. And Chimaev seemed just fine with that.
“I will fight everybody,” he said (ht MMA Junkie). “Of course, if [Covington] doesn’t call the cops, if Dana White doesn’t go to jail, I’ll be happy to fight, come to the fight, and smash his face.”
Chimaev added that “of course” he would finish Covington if he has the chance to fight him.
After that answer Chimaev gave a vague response on when he might compete again.
“I don’t know. When I come back, I come back. We go back home to Sweden and get some recovery. Then, 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.”
With his win over Burns, Chimaev can expect a big leap forwards in the UFC’s welterweight rankings. Prior to the fight he was sitting at 11th, with Burns in the number-two spot.
Chimaev debuted for the UFC in 2020, when he took three quick victories in the span of a few months. After that he spent a long time on the sidelines battling severe symptoms of COVID-19.
He returned to action last October with a submission win over Li Jingliang at UFC 267.
Covington is coming off a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal at last month’s UFC 272. Prior to that he lost a unanimous decision to UFC champion Kamaru Usman. Covington’s only other losses in his 20 fight career are a TKO loss to Usman in 2019 and an submission loss to Warlley Alves back in 2015. He’s ranked number-one in the division.