To some, Khamzat Chimaev’s (fiercely entertaining) win against Gilbert Burns in April dispelled the idea that is unbeatable.
While Chimaev had his hand raised after three incredible rounds of action, it didn’t come without him taking some damage at the hands of the Brazilian submission specialist who dropped Chimaev towards the end of the second frame with a clubbing right hand — and also became the first fighter to win a round against him.
And despite Burns efforts not being quite enough to hand Chimaev his first defeat, welterweight contender Belal Muhammad says that he spotted more than enough openings for him to exploit if and when he shares the cage with ‘Borz’ somewhere down the line.
He told Brendan Schaub: “I saw weaknesses in him. 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.
“When you get to the top five, if you’re not fighting with a strategy, you’re going to lose to the good guys. 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.”
It is this type of strategy, Muhammad says, which will lead him to victory against Chimaev.
“I showed that I could be a different fighter every single fight,” he said. “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?”
(Transcription via MMA Junkie)