It’s always good advice to fighters, that they should never look too far ahead of their next fight. Inevitably, it always feels like the fighter that starts talking about winning the belt before their Octagon debut—or picking up their second title before they’ve even fought for the first one—is headed toward a hard loss.
Promoters, however, get a little more leeway. It’s still not the best idea to count a anyone’s proverbial chickens before they hatch, but it’s also not a bad idea to at least have a few ideas in mind for the next big fight to book down the line. And if Khamzat Chimaev comes away with a victory over Gilbert Burns this Saturday, at UFC 273, it sounds like the the UFC will be ready and waiting.
“I think that if Khamzat Chimaev wins this weekend, we see him and Colby Covington next,” UFC president Dana White said in a recent appearance on the on The Pat McAfee Show (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I have a fight [card] coming up on ABC,” he added. “And in a perfect world, if everything plays out right, I would love to do Khamzat vs. Colby if Khamzat should win on Saturday night.”
No word as to just what exactly that date might be. The UFC currently has events scheduled all the way out through the first week of July, but none of those—for the moment—appear to be tabbed to broadcast on ABC.
Of course, before any of that can even be considered, Chimaev has to defeat the former title contender in front of him. Burns is fresh off a victory over Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson at UFC 264. That win marked his first return to the Octagon since a TKO loss to champion Kamaru Usman last February.
For Chimaev, this bout at UFC 273 represents just his 5th trip to the Octagon since debuting in 2020. The unbeaten Allstars talent has been on the receiving end of just one significant strike through his 12min 54sec of UFC cage time. The type of dominance that has a whole lot of people looking ahead to what he might do in the not too distant future.