Gilbert Burns is putting the entire UFC welterweight division on notice in advance to his main event clash with current champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 258 on Feb. 13 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Burns, who earned his shot at UFC gold after taking out Tyron Woodley last May, has been on an absolute tear since moving up from 155 pounds back in 2019. The Brazilian contender has produced a 4-0 record at the welterweight level since then and has looked capable of beating any fighter in the division.
As “Durinho” prepares to face a former training partner in Usman he can’t help but look at the rest of the division and think about the future. Usman is certainly not a champion to overlook having produced a 12-0 record inside of the Octagon, but Burns is excited to win the belt and test his luck against all of the division’s best.
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“I’m just different for these guys,” Burns told MMA Junkie. “I think I’m a big threat and a big danger everywhere. If I touch you with any of my hands, you can feel it. If you try to wrestle me, I can wrestle you. If you try to grapple with me, it will be even more dangerous. I think I’m a big threat, not only for Kamaru but anyone in that division. I’m about to prove that. Then after that I believe I’m going to fight all these guys very soon.
“After Kamaru there’s Colby (Covington). After Colby there’s (Jorge) Masvidal, Leon Edwards, Khamzat Chimaev, (Stephen) ‘Wonderboy’ (Thompson), Michael Chiesa. Every single one I want to fight, and I will fight all these guys, and they will see soon how dangerous I am.”
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Burns, who fought twice in 2020, not only understands what it takes to compete during a global pandemic but also the fact that nothing is certain in these times. He might be scheduled to fight Usman in two weeks only to have the champion pull out and somebody else fill in. The same goes for the rest of the division which will play out over the next few months.
“Times are crazy right now, (and) you cannot predict anything,” Burns said. “They might book Jorge Masvidal and Colby, and one guy pulls out, ‘Wonderboy’ gets the fight, and he’s right there, or the opposite. I think any one of those top five guys, top six they’re right there. They must stay ready and hope for the opportunity. With COVID, anyone can pull out, and anyone can get hurt, and you’re right there. If I was one of these guys out there in the top seven all the way to No. 1, I would just be ready because opportunity might come soon.”
As of now, Burns is scheduled to fight for the undisputed title at UFC 258 and put himself in a position to hand Usman his first loss under the UFC banner. Burns certainly has the skillset and combat background to pull it off, but Usman is a strong champion to work over. Its going to take a perfect game plan and exact execution for Burns to pull it off.
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If the Brazilian contender is able to get it done and wins the welterweight strap in two weeks he’ll be looking to get back into the cage right away. In fact, Burns already has a few names in mind for his first UFC title defense.
“I want to be a very active champion, and I want to be an example for hard work and a guy that will fight anyone,” Burns said. “”I think those are the next in line – Khamzat or Colby – if the fight goes (forward) and nothing gets canceled and nothing gets crazy. I think those are the guys next in line.”
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