Former UFC welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns is definitely open to the idea of a future matchup with undefeated rising contender Khamzat Chimaev.
Burns spoke with MMA Junkie's Danny Segura backstage at Bellator 271 this past Friday and discussed who could be his next opponent. While he thinks former interim UFC welterweight champion Colby Covington would be the perfect next foe for him to face, Burns believes most of the division's other top contenders are avoiding a fight with him, and that is why he's open to facing Chimaev at some point in the near future.
“For Colby, the perfect would be me,” Burns said. “That’s the fight that I want. He knows that I want it. But when it’s the time to call out a guy, when it’s time to pick an opponent, they don’t pick me. I think they know why. Leon (Edwards) never says my name. Colby never says my name. (Jorge) Masvidal never says my name. It’s for a reason, and they know why. I do know I lost that title fight, but I’ve been doing a lot of great things in that division, and they know that. So that’s what I’m looking at. I’ll be ready. Colby, Masvidal, Leon, even Khamzat in the future – that’s a great option for me. I never say no for a fight. I still believe (Khamzat has) got to do a little bit more work, but I’m still open to fight any one of these guys.”
He continued on to discuss Chimaev's fast rise and why he understands the promotion wanting to push him up the rankings so rapidly. Burns also reiterated that he wouldn't have any problem giving Khamzat the opportunity to face him in the future, specifically if he gets one more good win under his belt.
“I think so. I think he’s real,” Burns said. “I think he’s been tested. People say, ‘Oh, no. He’s just no.’ I think he fought a couple of good fighters. And the other thing, too, the way he beat them. Sometimes people don’t understand the matchmaker. Sometimes they feed you. They want new contenders. They want new stars, and they feed a couple guys. But sometimes they don’t destroy the guys the way they should. Even the matchmaker is just like, ‘Hey, feed that guy. He don’t want to eat.’ But he’s been doing a great job, you know, and I think he’s real. I think I’m going to face him very soon. I think he needs one more win, and I think he’ll have (the win). And if things keep going like that, like Colby doesn’t even say my name, Masvidal, Leon. Why not? I’ll give him the opportunity.”