In the wake of that thrilling April bout, which ended in a unanimous decision win for Chimaev, both fighters were showered with praise, and Burns has campaigned for a rematch. Chimaev climbed to the No. 3 spot at welterweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings and is next set to fight Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC 279 on Sept. 10.
Appearing on The MMA Hour, Chimaev questioned Burns’ handling of the situation, specifically about Burns taking pride in a competitive fight even though it didn’t end with his hand being raised.
“When I win my fight, that last fight, it was a tough fight for me,” Chimaev said. “Everyone was happy talking about, ‘He didn’t finish that guy.’ The guy was No. 2, one of the toughest guys. He almost won against [UFC welterweight champion Kamaru] Usman as well. Knocked him down, almost. I didn’t do my job, like how to do it, I didn’t listen to my coach.
“I made him famous. The guy was nothing before me. I made him famous, and he lost the fight, he was more happy. I was angry after that fight — I won the fight. I was angry because I didn’t finish that guy. I don’t understand some guys become happy when they lost the fight. He’s going everywhere doing interviews, [saying ‘I’m] going to fight with him again.’ Yeah, we’re going to fight, whenever he wants. But he will never be champ, because if you’re happy when you lost a fight, you’re never going to be champ. … He said, ‘Five rounds, I can win that fight.’ If you look at him the last seconds of the fight, if he can fight five rounds, why did he look at the time, running from me? I was running after him the last two minutes, I was tired. If it was two more rounds, I would finish him.”
Chimaev clarified he is open to fighting Burns again, which is one of the reasons he hasn’t re-watched the first fight. His coach Andreas Michael previously revealed on The MMA Hour that he was upset with Chimaev brawling with Burns and not implementing boxing fundamentals. Chimaev also released a video in which he admitted that he did not follow instructions.
Even though he went to the scorecards for the first time in his career, Chimaev still feels he convincingly won the matchup.
“Everyone’s saying he did good takedown defense,” Chimaev said. “I took him down easy. When I lift him up, when I drop him down, then I’m like, ‘Now I have to knock him out.’ If I drop him one time, then he will go down after my right hand.
“All fight I forget the time, the rounds, the last round my coach comes to me, ‘Don’t fight with him like in the streets.’ Then I understand now I have to do something different. But I won my fight.”
The Chechen fighter still believes he was more frustrated by the narrow win over Burns than Burns was by the actual loss. Should he lose in an upset to Diaz at UFC 279, don’t expect him to brush it off.
As for why he was so aggressive in his promotion of the fight with Burns, Chimaev considers it to be part of the business.
“I don’t understand why some people lose, why they’re happy,” he said. “I don’t understand that thing. Everyone saying, ‘Gilbert did good, Gilbert did good. He’s good, he’s good.’ Yeah, he’s f****** good, how many years was he in the UFC? I start with MMA five years ago. I come from nowhere. I come from the f******* streets. I didn’t do anything professional. Wrestling for me was a hobby. I was working as security, I was sometimes wrestling, and I became Swedish champion. My friend said come to MMA, five years ago I start MMA, now I’m top-3 and I smashed that guy and everyone is talking about it.
“I’m also human. Everyone’s thinking like I’m some robot. Yes, I speak hard when I go the press conference, ‘I’m going to smash that guy,’ because I think I’m going to smash him. That’s why I say that I have to do it. Otherwise, I didn’t want to sit there and say, ‘I’m the humblest guy here,’ something like that. You don’t make money like that, you don’t do your job good. People don’t want to watch that s***.”