36-year-old Burns joined Babcock on the "TMZ Sports" TV show (airs weekdays on FS1) ... where we asked the #4 ranked UFC welterweight if Diaz could truly get a W.
"I'm looking forward to Nate Diaz surviving that storm that [Khamzat's] gonna bring in the first two rounds but after that I think Nate Diaz got a chance," Burns said.
"I think the first two rounds are gonna be very rough for Diaz but the veteran that he is and a lot of experience, I hope he gets through those two rounds and then I think the fights gonna turn to the other side."
FYI, Chimaev is around a 10-to-1 favorite ... meaning you'll risk around $1K just to win $100.
Of course, 37-year-old Diaz hasn't consistently fought over the last few years. In fact, Nate's only had one scrap since late 2019 ... a loss in June 2021 to now-champ Leon Edwards.
Speaking of Edwards, Nate hurt Leon in the 5th round of their fight. And, that's why Burns thinks he can beat Khamzat ... Diaz has an incredible gas tank, while Khamzat hasn't yet proven he can fight 5 rounds.
"I want Nate Diaz to win and I hope he survives the first two rounds and then put on a beating on Khazmat. I know he can do it," Burns told us, adding ... "It's gonna be tough the first two rounds. After that, the gas tank of Khazmat slows down."
While UFC 279 is about Nate and Khamzat, Gilbert is looking to get back in the Octagon with Chimaev ... whom he fought in April 2022. Burns lost the razer close fight by decision ... but pushed Khamzat further than any other fighter had previously.
That contest was just three rounds ... and Gilbert believes if they fought a full five rounds, there's no question he would've won.
"100%. It's very hard to say, but I do believe I would've won and I do believe if we fight again, I'm gonna beat him."
It's likely Gilbert will get his wish for a rematch in the future ... but first things first, Nate vs. Khamzat goes down Saturday night on ESPN+!