Belal Muhammad: ‘I saw weaknesses’ in Khamzat Chimaev’s win against Gilbert Burns

khamzat fight

Belal Muhammad knew Gilbert Burns was going to be a tough outing for Khamzat Chimaev. Muhammad (21-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) actually picked Burns to beat the undefeated Chimaev at UFC 273, which turned many heads. Although Burns is a former title challenger, oddsmakers did not like his chances.

Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) outlasted Burns in a barnburner, but “Durinho” was able to push Chimaev to the brink in a razor-close fight. Muhammad, who’s unbeaten in his past eight fights, lauded Chimaev for his toughness, but saw holes in his game against Burns. “I saw weaknesses in him,” Muhammad told Brendan Schaub on “Food Truck Diaries.” “Obviously people are like, ‘Oh man, he’s not as good as we thought he was.’ But I’m like, ‘Yo, he showed that he had the chin, he showed that he got power,’ and it’s like – you’re fighting Gilbert Burns.”

Muhammad is coming off three straight dominant wins over jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia, striking specialist Stephen Thompson and dangerous finisher Vicente Luque. Muhammad took minimal damage in those fights and was able to execute a perfect game plan, something he thinks Chimaev failed to implement against Burns.

“When you get to the top five, if you’re not fighting with a strategy, you’re going to lose to the good guys,” Muhammad said. “For me, these last three fights I showed that I could fight with a strategy because they were all different fighters. I fought Demian Maia, who’s – I had to stay up on my feet. I could not get taken down, so it was all defensive wrestling. Then I fought ‘Wonderboy,’ and I’m not going to kickbox with ‘Wonderboy,’ so I’m you’re going to go in there and take ‘Wonderboy’ down.

“(He’s) not an easy guy to take down, and I don’t have college wrestling. I’m not a Division-I wrestler, but (I) fight with a strategy, and I dominated more than anybody else has ever dominated him. Then you fight a guy like Luque, who’s knocked me out, who has the most finishes at welterweight and he’s good on his feet and good on the ground. How are you going to beat a guy like that? Oh well, with movement and footwork and then shooting in when he least expects it.”

Muhammad and Chimaev appeared to verbally agree to fight at UFC 281 on Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi, but Muhammad is ready to fight a lot sooner. Chimaev has also been angling for Nate Diaz and Muhammad thinks “Borz” and his team may not be that keen on facing him.

“I showed that I could be a different fighter every single fight,” Muhammad added. “And I think that Khamazat’s team is looking at that like, ‘Let’s look for somebody else at this moment, let’s not try to jump on that,’ because if Colby (Covington is) out and I’m willing to fight you, we could fight in June, we could fight in July. I’m ready to go. Why aren’t you guys willing to step up that quick?”

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