Khamzat Chimaev and Gilbert Burns have a history together since their fight at UFC 273 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in April was an instant classic. Despite Chimaev winning by decision, the bout is prominently listed as one of the finest of the year because it helped raise the names of both competitors.
Chimaev was scheduled to face Nate Diaz in the pay-per-view event’s main event at UFC 279, which was expected to boost his reputation even more. Instead, he was 7.5 pounds underweight, which forced a last-minute switch of the event’s top three bouts. Despite the fact that Chimaev went on to quickly finish Kevin Holland, Burns believes his old opponent should make some amends.
Gilbert Burns wants to see Khamzat Chimaev return to welterweight
“It doesn’t matter how you start, it matters how you finish,” Burns told MMA Junkie at Kill Cliff Fight Club. “It don’t matter if that guy starts so big, so impressive. It matters how you finish, you know? … I don’t know, the fans might like all 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 I’ve had is to have guys that give you advice. Like, I have guys that give me advice on money, my parents 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 in 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, guys to help him out, making decisions. I think the guys he has around don’t help him make good decisions.”
“I hope so,” Burns said about Chimaev remaining at welterweight. “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.
“I think he’s just too young. A lot of hype, a lot of things. … I lost a couple of fights because I had a very bad weight cut, but I still make the weight, you know? I don’t know, he’s just got to man up. Make sure he gets good mentors, good managers, good coaches, and people that gonna tell him the truth and help him be the best he can be, and honor the contract when he signs it.”
Transcription courtesy of MMAJunkie