Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gilbert Burns may just be the most talked about fight on this Saturday’s UFC 273 card — and that’s saying something.
The Jacksonville, Florida-based PPV event boasts two title fights, at featherweight and bantamweight, but it’s the welterwieght affair just prior to those bouts that has people talking. That’s because Khamzat Chimaev is getting his toughest test to date, against a former title challenger in Gilbert Burns.
If he passes that test, especially in dominant fashion, as his first four wins have been, the undefeated 10-0 fighter will no doubt be looked at as a title challenger himself.
There might just be one big fight before that, however. On The Pat McAfee Show on Friday, UFC President Dana White teased a showdown between Chimaev and Colby Covington, the former interim champ who is coming off a big win over Jorge Masvidal.
“There’s been a rocket ship on him since his first fight on ‘Fight Island,'” White said during the podcast, noting the lopsided odds in Chimaev vs. Burns. Interest in the fighter has been high since the start.
“I think that if Khamzat Chimaev wins this weekend, we see him and Colby Covington next,” White said later, pausing before he opted to break the news. “So I have a fight coming up on ABC. And in a perfect world, if everything plays out right, I would love to do Khamzat vs. Colby [on that card] if Khazmat should win on Saturday night.”
Covington (17-3) has already faced welterweight champ Kamaru Usman twice, coming up short on both occasions. But he remains arguably the biggest threat in the division to the champ — at least until Chimaev potentially proves otherwise.
Despite the win over rival Masivdal, the pair were unable to bury the hatchet, resulting in “Gamebred” landing a sucker punch or two on Covington outside a Miami eatery a few weeks ago. He’s now facing felony battery charges as a result. Covington’s return to action remains unclear, meanwhile, as he reportedly suffered a fractured tooth in the incident.
Chimaev, meanwhile, needs to get the job done against Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 this Saturday for the match-up to materialize.