Rhys McKee Picks Khamzat Chimaev Over Gilbert Burns: “He Was Like a Knife Through Butter With Me!”

Interview Rhys McKee above

Former opponent of Khamzat Chimaev, Rhys McKee, is picking “Borz” to claim victory over former welterweight title contender Gilbert “Durinho” Burns at UFC 273 this Saturday.

The Irishman, who lost via TKO in just over 3 minutes to Chimaev on “UFC Fight Island”, believes it’s difficult to overlook the surging prospect, despite Burns’ experience.

“I see Khamzat winning! Chimaev is massive, he’s a big boy. Burns is fantastic too, and his grappling accolades speak for themselves, but I just think everything of Chimaev now!” McKee told MyMMANews.com.

Boasting an unblemished 10-0 pro record, Chimaev has looked unstoppable thus far in his UFC tenure. Yet to see the judges’ scorecards in his career, the All Stars Training Centre fighter has out struck his UFC 112 to 1 (per UFCStats.com).

Given the short-notice nature of their matchup, which was McKee’s UFC debut, “Skeletor” finds it difficult to assess just how impressive a talent Chimaev is:

“I got out grappled and out struck, but it’s hard to gauge how good he is! If I had a full 12-week fight camp and I was well prepped for him and he done that, then I could give you a better answer. It’s very hard to say how good someone is when you didn’t have any preparation. That being said, what he’s went on to do, you can’t argue that the man is fantastic.”

From an outsider’s perspective, Chimaev has displayed incredible strength inside the UFC Octagon, manhandling opponents across two divisions, but McKee doesn’t feel that Khamzat’s strength is the sensation’s outstanding quality:

“If I’m being totally honest, black and white, not really. [Alex] Morono was so strong. I remember Morono and me had a few exchanges on the ground and on the fence, and I remember thinking he was phenomenally strong. Not that Chimaev wasn’t strong, but he was like a knife through butter with me! I was too slow to everything. He was just very ahead, he was very fast. I would be lying if I said it was anything I hadn’t felt before, although that didn’t help me on that night, did it?”

With Chimaev notching less than 8 minutes of cage time through 4 UFC fights, McKee is hopeful that we’ll be treated to a closer look into the depths of the 27-year-old’s skill set when faced with a more experienced opponent in Gilbert Burns:

“I’d love to see him tested, and still come out winning. I’d love to see him lose a round and then go on to win, just to see more of him. I kind of hope it’s a close fight, but I think he leaves victorious.”

As for title ambitions? Although Chimaev faces the toughest test of his young career in Gilbert Burns this weekend, McKee concedes that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Borz go all the way to the top and dethrone UFC P4P no.1 fighter Kamaru Usman as king of the welterweights:

“As of what we’ve seen now, and how he’s ran through everyone, I would have to say I do. I do believe [Chimaev can dethrone Usman]! I think if he does, I don’t think anyone has or ever will do what he’s done, if he can go on and win the belt.”

Watch the full clip of Rhys McKee talking about Khamzat Chimaev below:

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Andy Stevenson
Andy Stevenson is an MMA writer, interviewer, and occasional podcaster based in Dublin, Ireland.