Khamzat Chimaev vows to return even stronger after epic UFC 273 win against Gilbert Burns

Undefeated welterweight takes professional record to 11-0 after unanimous decision victory

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Khamzat Chimaev says he has even more motivation than ever before to reign supreme in the UFC after he was not able to finish Gilbert Burns in a Fight of the Year contender at UFC 273 on Sunday morning.

The unbeaten welterweight, making only his fifth appearance in the promotion, shared a brutal encounter with the division’s No 2-ranked challenger at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

Previously untested in the UFC - three of his four fights have taken place in Abu Dhabi - Chimaev prevailed by unanimous decision, taking the contest 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards.

The victory lifted the Chechen-born Swede's professional record to 11-0 and looked set when he dropped Burns at the end of the first round.

However, the Brazilian rallied brilliantly to floor his surging rival towards the conclusion of an incredible second round, before Chimaev came through another back-and-forth affair in the third round to triumph.

Speaking to the media afterwards, Chimaev said he was too emotional from the offset and had ignored his team’s instructions as he sought to rack up an 11th successive pro finish.

“I was too excited to knock him out,” he said. “I said to everybody all week, ‘I’m going to knock him out, I’m going to knock him out’. I tried to knock him out - that was wrong from me from the beginning.

“The guy was tough, I didn’t accept that. From the first second to the last second, I tried to finish him. Next time I’m going to work a little bit smarter. And, yeah, I’m going to smash somebody.

“It was wrong from me; coach told me to slow down, work more technical. I just wanted to take his head off, like I always do. Next time I’m going to work for that.”

The bout, which preluded the card’s two championship bouts, was deservedly named Fight of the Night, with UFC president Dana White announcing afterwards that he would also award Burns a win bonus.

Asked if he had underestimated the talent at the top of the division – Chimaev is currently ranked the 11th contender but will of course rise rapidly following his latest win – the undefeated fighter replied: “I don’t care. You think I’m not tough? I show my heart. I’m tougher than everyone. And I’ll smash them all.

“People think I don’t respect the guys. This is the game - you try to play with his mind and let him make some mistakes. I love it. I respect all my opponents. Everyone does this for his family.

"Actually it was a little bit hard to fight him because I see his kids, they come to me, ‘Hi, you fight my daddy.’ I say, ‘I don’t need that.’ I don’t want to fight with some daddy. I need some killer like me, somebody that don’t care about that. I went to him [after the fight], I said, ‘Respect, brother. Sorry for punches.’”

Chimaev, 27, singled out No 1-ranked contender Colby Covington as his next opponent. As for when he wanted to return to the octagon, he said: “I don’t know. When I come back, I come back. We go back home to Sweden and get some recovery. Then, train harder.

"People still talk about you train wrong, you do this, do that. I’m going to train harder than now. I have more motivation now, because I didn’t finish that guy. I want to finish everybody. From first second to last second I go for the finish. I’m going to do it always.”

Updated: April 10, 2022, 10:43 AM
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