Daniel Cormier thinks Gilbert Burns is going to have issues dealing with Khamzat Chimaev’s size.
Although former title challenger Burns (20-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) undoubtedly is Chimaev’s toughest test to date on paper, Burns finds himself a +370 underdog at Tipico heading into Saturday’s UFC 273 matchup.
Cormier, a standout wrestler, finds it hard not to favor Chimaev (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) considering his grappling prowess and the dominance he has displayed so far in the octagon.
“Khamzat is big. He’s got fantastic striking with tremendous power. He’s got unbelievable wrestling, and obviously he has good grappling,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel. “But to me, it’s the smothering top pressure of Khamzat Chimaev that causes these guys so many issues – and he’s long and he’s big. How does Gilbert Burns, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and black belt, handle a heavy guy like that on top?
“Normally, when you get this type of matchup, the wrestler will dominate the grappler because Gilbert needs to create a lot of action in order to free himself of the pressure from Khamzat Chimaev. The wrestling base usually will kill that. … We, as wrestlers, understand smothering and stopping the movement of jiu-jitsu players.”
As high as Cormier is on Chimaev, though, he doesn’t see him running through Burns. However, he expects Chimaev’s size advantage to play a major factor.
“Would I bet that he’s going to dominate him in that way? No,” Cormier said. “I think going to get challenged in ways that we have not seen him get challenged today or to this point. I think he’s going to get challenged, but do I think he’s going to win? I think the size difference will be the biggest issue for Burns to overcome in this matchup. So I will say, I think Khamzat wins the fight, but I don’t know if he wins the fight in as dominant of fashion as he has won so many.”