Gilbert Burns vs Khamzat Chaimaev will be the first true test, as to the rise of what could be a superstar in the sport. Will Khamzat Chimaev prove that he has what it takes to contend for the belt, or will it be the tried and true #4 Gilbert Burns who puts a stop to the phenomenal rise and puts his own claim to belt contention?
Chimaev has stopped all his former UFC opponents, most in the first round. However, he has yet to be tested by the top talent of the welterweight division. The #11 ranked Chimaev will be across the cage of the #2 ranked Gilbert Burns. Chimaev is the heavily favored fighter in this matchup and after watching his fights it is easy to see why. Chimaev is finishing fighters so quickly it is difficult to even know how deep his talent goes.
Gilbert Burns is not the type to be used as a stepping stone. This #2 ranked fighter has earned his seat and his 20-4 record includes one loss to the current reigning pound for pound best fighter in the UFC, Kamaru Usman. This will undoubtedly be the test that Chimaev needs to break through to cement his name in the division and possibly set up a title fight.
Even if Chimaev passes this test, it is not likely we will see him headlining Usman’s next fight. Usman has his dance card full with the likes of a Leon Edwards rematch, and now Conor McGregor throwing his hat in for a title shot. Things could shake up quite differently in the fight game and it’s anyone’s guess.