Khamzat Chimaev and Gilbert Burns already had their first face-to-face meeting.
The two welterweight standouts, who are slated to meet on April 9 in a highly anticipated bout at UFC 273, ran into each other Wednesday in the fighter host hotel in Jacksonville, Fla., sharing a quick — but spirited — moment of respect as they sized each other up while only wearing towels.
“I’ve got you now. Come, we’ll fight naked,” Chimaev said to Burns, who was accompanied by teammate Ian Garry. “You want to fight me naked?”
“Ah, you’re small, brother,” the confident Chechen contender continued. “You have to eat much, brother. Eat banana, brother. Chocolate. ... Show me power, brother.”
“I will show you Saturday,” Burns responded. “I’m gonna show you. Let’s go. I will show.”
Various angles of the exchange can be seen above and below.
Chimaev, the No. 10 ranked welterweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, has had a historic start to his UFC career, outstriking his opposition 112-1 in significant strikes en route to a 4-0 record inside the octagon.
The No. 4 ranked Burns, on the other hand, has proven to be one of the best welterweights in the world. A one-time title challenger, Burns is 5-1 with wins over Stephen Thompson, Tyron Woodley, and Demian Maia since moving back up to 170 pounds.
UFC 273 takes place Saturday at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville. The event is headlined by two title fights: Alexander Volkanovski vs. “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung and a rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan.