UFC star Khamzat Chimaev is reportedly in talks with Gilbert Burns for a rumoured February fight early next year.
‘Borz’ made his long-awaited return to the cage last month in stunning fashion by submitting Li Jingliang in the first round.
That was his first fight since September of last year, when he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert in just 17 seconds to cap off an extraordinary three months, which included stoppage victories over European veterans Rhys McKee and John Phillips.
Last year, Chimaev, 27, was set to face Leon Edwards three times at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, but ultimately he was unable to do so for various reasons.
The welterweight clash was originally scheduled for December 19 but the UFC confirmed the bout would have to be moved after the Swede tested positive for coronavirus.
In turn, Edwards pulled out two days later after also testing positive himself.
The pairing was rescheduled once again to headline UFC Fight Night 187, but Chimaev was forced to pull out again due to lung complications caused by COVID-19.
And with Chimaev seriously affected by the ordeal, he underwent surgery and the fight fell through.
He told ESPN: “If you are sick, you cannot think about [a] fight.
“I was thinking, ‘One month, sick. Then still, two months. When am I going to be finished with this s—?’ I’m healthy now, hungry again. I want to get back and smash somebody and make money.”
“When I come back to my country, they helped me and did an operation that took some stuff, I don’t know how to explain in English.
“Now, I feel much better. I can’t wait. I am more than 93 kilos [205 pounds], feeling stronger. I just started to train with my team, and I will find [an opponent] to kill.”
He then added: “When I go to sparring, I told [manager Ali Abdelaziz], ‘I’m only going to do pads,’ but this was lying.
“I jumped in grappling sparring, did three rounds. Feel bad in my chest, I said, ‘Coach, I go out.’ I go home and start to [cough] blood.
“I was never scared about my life. I’m scared about what my mom is going to do after I die. My mom, my brothers — I was thinking, ‘What are they gonna do after I die?’
“I start with this MMA s— because of my family. I want to make some good life with them.”
Burns, 35, is also hot off the biggest win of his career as he beat former title challenger Stephen Thompson, 38, on points in the summer.
The UFC veteran has confirmed plans to jump back into action before the end of the year and called to fight Edwards and Jorge Masvidal, 37.
But Masvidal is currently out injured which has ruled him out of his grudge match with Edwards, who has also been left without an opponent.