Khamzat Chimaev believes he is already the king of the UFC after just four fights in the Octagon.
Chimaev, 27, makes his highly anticipated return to the Octagon on Saturday night at UFC 273. Despite the card being led by championship bouts in the featherweight and bantamweight division, Khamzat Chimaev vs Gilbert Burns is the fight most fans are looking forward to.
Besides being the latest installment of the fast-rising star’s journey in the UFC, it is a matchup that has legitimate title implications and features two of the best welterweights in the sport. The Chechen is well aware of the interest the bout has garnered amongst fans, and he believes it is only fitting for a matchup that features the new “king” of the Octagon.
‘King’ Khamzat Chimaev returns at UFC 273
“Of course, everyone looks at my fights, you know?” Chimaev said during Wednesday’s media scrum [h/t MMAJunkie]. “Everyone wants to see me. That’s why everyone wants to see that fight more than the other fights. Because I’m the king. Everyone wants to see kings.”
Chimaev (10-0) is unbeaten in his four UFC appearances, split between the middleweight and welterweight divisions. Beginning a run in the promotion with a string of victories is nothing unusual. However, what has made Chimaev different from the rest is how soundly he has dominated his opposition. He has more wins than strikes landed on him in so far, and only one bout has barely lasted more than a single round.
- Khamzat Chimaev record: 10-0 (6 knockouts, 4 submissions)
Chimaev calls Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards an unworthy championship booking
That is why there is so much scrutiny around Chimaev vs Burns. If he can dominate a top-three welterweight and former title challenger in a similar fashion he would most definitely be in the conversation for a future opportunity against welterweight champ Kamaru Usman.
A possible Chimaev vs Usman scrap wouldn’t happen until the fall at best, since the Nigerian is expected to face Englishman Leon Edwards in a rematch this summer. However, Chimaev feels he should be next — assuming he wins on Saturday inside the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena — because he is an elite fighter and star people want to see. And Usman vs Edwards is a fight no one wants to watch, in his unhumble opinion.
“If they do that fight, [does] somebody care about that fight? I don’t think so. Dana White wants to make that fight?” Chimaev asked. “Leon Edwards, nobody knows that guy. Usman, he’s the same. Nobody wants to see those guys. Everyone wants to see me there, smash them both.”
“[Edwards] almost lose his last fight to Nate Diaz, the skinny guy,” he continued. “Five rounds, and last round he gets tired. If he gets tired against Diaz, what I gonna do with this guy? He’s gonna get tired after first minute. I’m gonna knock him out. This guy not my level.”
The main card pay-per-view for UFC 273, featuring Khamzat Chimaev, kicks off at 10 PM ET exclusively on streaming service ESPN+.