Gilbert Burns is very honest when assessing his fight with Khamzat Chimaev.

At UFC 273 on April 9, Burns (20-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) meets unbeaten rising star Chimaev (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC), who has ran through his competition so far. Burns, a former UFC welterweight title challenger, is a significant step up in competition for Chimaev. But unlike Chimaev, “Durinho” expects an all-out battle.

“I see it going very hard,” Burns said in an interview with Helen Yee. “Especially in the beginning, he might be very strong. I do believe he’s gonna strike a little bit, but I do believe he’s gonna grapple too. He’s gonna try and take me down, wrestle, stay heavy on top, good ground-and-pound, and that’s what I think he’s gonna do.

“I think I’ll have a lot of answers to the game, takedown defense, getting up, a lot of striking too. I see a war. I don’t think it’s gonna be easy for me. I don’t think it’ll be easy for him. I think we’re gonna grind down, and it’s gonna be – I see my arms getting raised, but I think it’s gonna be a war.”

UFC president Dana White has declared Burns vs. Chimaev a No. 1 contender fight. However, Burns, who was stopped by champion Kamaru Usman last year at UFC 258, isn’t quite sure.

“Yeah, but Dana also said that women will never fight in MMA (UFC),” Burns laughed. “I respect that when you have one opinion, but later on you change it. He can change it. We will see. I think everything is about the performance. I gotta go there and get a finish and then I can have a title shot, but it’s all about the performance nowadays. If the fight ends up being boring or ends up being not what people expect, for sure we’ve got to do one more fight.”

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