If there is better yet to come, Saturday is a fine time for Amirkhani to show it, as after proving he’s deserving of a step up in competition through his first six Octagon appearances, he gets one in the form of the Team Tiger Schulmann standout Burgos.
Like Amirkhani, “Hurricane Shane” has gone 5-1 through his first six UFC starts, with his lone loss coming against Calvin Kattar, who headlines next weekend’s return to Moscow opposite Zabit Magomedsharipov. Unlike Amirkhani, however, the 28-year-old with a 12-1 record has already tested himself against Top 15 competition and cracked the divisional rankings, entering Saturday’s contest off split decision win over veteran Cub Swanson and carrying the No. 12 ranking next to his name.
Despite his similar record and recent results, Amirkhani isn’t overly impressed and promises that no matter where the fight takes place this weekend, he’ll have his way with Burgos.
“If he wants to strike with me, I guarantee I will knock him out. If he wants to wrestle with me, I’m happy to teach him how to wrestle. If he wants to grapple with me, he will be like a fish on the ground, not in the sea.
“I don’t care about him or where he’s from or his background — this is about me and the result will remain the same.”
And then, he’ll go back to the gym, back to training with renewed vigor and purpose, and back to chasing down the featherweight title.
“Sometimes I feel that the things that happen in my life are meant to happen and this is one of those moments,” he said of Saturday’s contest. “I know that this train doesn’t stop on Saturday — it will continue; this will be just one stop.
“If I just keep doing this, the belt will be mine in 2020; I promise you that,” he added. “I don’t care what kind of new talent is coming — this is about me now.”