After his UFC 273 win over Gilbert Burns, undefeated welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev has gotten more push. But even before Saturday night, “Borz” had been confident about his chances against the division’s elite, including reigning champion Kamaru Usman.
For many, Chimaev’s performance against “Durinho” may have established his place towards the top of the division. But if you ask UFC veteran Brian Stann, the 27-year-old Sweden-based fighter should exercise a little more patience.
“If I’m managing him, don’t be in such a rush,” Stann said on The MMA Hour on Monday. “because the reward is Kamaru Usman, and if you want to try and beat that monster, you’ve got to hope he’s getting real comfortable and making a lot of money and wearing all the name brands and not training as hard, because athletically and mentally right now, Kamaru Usman could be the best fighter on the planet.
“[Chimaev]’s ready, and it will be a fight, [but] do I think that it’s time for him, it’s his best opportunity to beat a guy like Kamaru Usman? I mean, Usman’s an animal, and he’s just so good and he’s still getting better.
“If I’m managing him — and you’re never gonna convince a fighter to slow down, that’s just the way we have to think — I do everything I can to get him more time, more experience. That fight, and the fact that it went as long as it did against Gilbert, that was the best possible outcome for him.”
In terms of Chimaev’s next opponent after UFC 273, one of the names that have floated around is Colby Covington. For Stann, this could be the next sensible move to make.
“To have to go through that, to have to dig deep, I think Colby Covington would be a smart next fight for him because that’s gonna be a challenge too,” Stann said of Chimaev. “That’s a really hard fight, but I think he’s ready for that. He’s gonna be competitive.
“That’s a fight he can go win. I don’t know that he’s ready and can smash Kamaru. I don’t believe he can smash Kamaru like he might say. He has to think that way, but nobody’s walking into the octagon and just walking through Kamaru Usman. Not gonna happen.”
With the win over Burns, Chimaev kept his undefeated record intact at 11-0.