Khamzat Chimaev showed up and showed out at UFC 273 with his big win over Gilbert Burns (watch highlights) and the rest of the division is taking notice.
This weekend (Sat., April 16, 2022), top Welterweight contenders Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad will run things back in the main event of UFC Vegas 51. Despite the solid momentum either continues to gain from a victory, they’ll likely find themselves taking a backseat to the emergent Chimaev.
On Chimaev’s path to the top, Muhammad was hoping to test the young superstar but is admittedly impressed by how he handled a former title challenger like Burns.
“He was always human to me, that’s why I wanted that fight,” Muhammad said at UFC Vegas 51 media day (h/t MMA Junkie). “I think he’s still a great fighter. He’s undefeated and still super young. I think people just put him as this robot, this Marvel character that he’s just going to touch you and they fall.
“We all bleed, we’re all human beings,” he continued. “They put him at so high that now that he didn’t walk through No. 2 in the world, he sucks. I’m like, ‘Bro, he’s still a great challenge and a guy that could beat everybody in the division, except for me.”
Next for Chimaev would appear to be No. 1-ranked UFC contender Colby Covington, according to UFC President Dana White. The fight would surely act as a ticket to a title shot for Chimaev who would become only the third person to defeat Covington in his 20-fight career — his last two losses coming against champion Kamaru Usman.
As for Usman, he’s likely to rematch perennial top contender Leon Edwards for his next title defense, which is being targeted for the summer.