After a three-round skirmish against Gilbert Burns at UFC 273, Khamzat Chimaev looked vulnerable in a fight for the first time in his career.
While the undefeated welterweight eventually won, Chimaev had to fight through some hazardous times, and he blamed himself for putting himself in such situations by not listening to his coaches’ advice.
At the UFC 273 post-fight press conference, Chimaev revealed, “I was too enthusiastic to knock him out.” “All week, I told everyone I was going to knock him out in one round.” I attempted to suffocate him. That was wrong from the start for me.
“I refused to recognize that the guy was difficult. I tried to finish him from the first second to the last. I’m going to try to be a little smarter next time. I’m going to slam into someone.
“It wasn’t unexpected from him, but it was inappropriate for me.” My coach used to tell me all the time that I want to throw down and work on the technical side of things. I simply want to stomp on his head. That’s something I’m going to improve on next time.”
Chimaev came out swinging as soon as the fight began, and he came close to finishing Burns with a vicious straight right hand near the conclusion of the first round. Burns not only survived, but also came back in the second round with a barrage of powerful punches that slashed Chimaev’s face and wobbled him during a few exchanges.
While Chimaev intends to watch the bout again, he can already see his flaws after attending his first-ever decision.
Chimaev said, “I already know [what I did wrong].” “Right from the start, I tried to knock him out. My coach advised me to begin cautiously, practice my jab, and defend. I simply went in and performed some wild s*** and dropped him, which made me even more pumped. I made an attempt to finish him. I needed to release him and knock him out once more.
“I’m going to watch my bout [again] to see what’s going on.” This nonsense doesn’t bother me. I’ll fight someone else next time.”
Chimaev and Burns traded a lot of intense trash talk in the days and weeks building up to UFC 273, especially at the pre-fight press conference and the official weigh-ins, where they had to be separated on stage.
Chimaev not only embraced Burns in the octagon after their bout on Saturday but also paid tribute to him while speaking with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan. He then came to a halt backstage to check on the former title contender who was receiving medical attention.
If there’s one advantage to a fight like that, it’s that Chimaev proved his detractors incorrect about his ability to deal with adversity. Even though he was up against the far greater competition, he managed to win.
On Saturday, Chimaev received more damage than he had in his previous ten fights combined. But, oddly enough, that’s exactly what he wanted.
“I didn’t get that fight before.” It was my first brawl of such nature. It was fantastic. That was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. I had ten bouts and ten finishes before this one, but it occurred. I bled, sweated, and battled for three rounds.”
Chimaev, who started the night ranked No. 10 in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, will now be towards the top of the welterweight division, where he will likely be extremely close to facing reigning UFC champion Kamaru Usman.
Prior to the victory, UFC President Dana White suggested a bout between Chimaev and Colby Covington, a two-time championship challenger, for later this year.