The UFC is close to finalizing an intriguing welterweight matchup that fight fans have been waiting a long time for. Dana White said today that the promotion was in the process of finalizing a matchup between Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) and Gilbert Burns (20-4).
The matchup would take place at UFC 273 on April 9th. Now, this fight has been rumored to be in the works for a long time and both men have appeared to be in camp, but nothing was finalized. The promotion also hadn’t let on whether the fight was done or not.
Now, we have a date and time for this fight and it goes down at UFC 273. This will be the first fight of the year for former welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns. The last time we saw Burns was back at UFC 264 when he took on Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
In that fight, Burns was looking to bounce back after he lost his title shot against Kamaru Usman. Burns did bounce back and picked up the big win at UFC 264. Since moving to welterweight, Burns has been one of the best and now he’s 7-1 at 170 pounds.
UFC’s Biggest Rising Star
There is not a prospect with more potential in MMA right now than the UFC’s Khamzat Chimaev. Chimaev has been unworldly since making his debut back in Fight Island in 2020. In the span of just a few months, Chimaev went 3-0 with three stoppages while absorbing one strike.
He was so dominant that the UFC struggled to find opponents for him. The promotion decided to fast-track him and booked him against Leon Edwards. However, Covid scrapped this fight on both sides. The first time it was booked, Edwards got Covid. Then, Chimaev got Covid which cancelled the next bout.
Covid complications actually kept Chimaev out of the UFC for most of 2021. Chimaev finally got back to 100% and he returned at UFC 267 against top fifteen contender Li Jingliang. This was a huge test for Chimaev after the layoff and Li was his first ranked opponent.
Well, Chimaev didn’t skip a beat as he smashed Li and choked him out in the first round. Now, the UFC is pushing him all the way to the top of the division against the former title challenger in Gilbert Burns. If Chimaev can run through Burns like he’s ran through everyone else, he’s likely going to get a title shot next.