“I don’t want to get another back-of-the-line contender,” declares Kill Cliff Fight Club fighter Gilbert Burns. “No, now I’m becoming a draw in that division. Now I’m on the cards. I’ll still fight anyone, don’t get me wrong, but you have to prove your point, that you deserve to be there right now.”
He’s right, you know. Burns and Khamzat Chimaev turned in the official Fight of the Night at UFC 273 despite Alexander Volkanovski and the Korean Zombie providing about four rounds of thrills and chills before Volkanovski clocked a TKO.
The Burns-Chimaev April 9 bout was a vivid showcase for Burns despite the loss as “Durinho” lived up to his nickname, which means “tiny tough guy.” Even if you had money on 11-0 Chimaev, you had to root for Burns’ (20-5) unrelenting determination.
He proved what he had to prove, and now he wants respect.
“My next fight I’m coming with blood in my mouth,” Burns told MMA Junkie. “That fight with Khamzat was so close. A lot of people saw the heart, the work, and that there’s no quit in me.
“I’m going to keep showing that in my next fight. With a big name, I’m going to show people what I’m capable of. And to cement my career and journey, I have to get that belt. And nothing but a big fight can get me closer to that.”
And who does Burns want?
“I think the fight that makes sense right now would be Colby Covington or Jorge Masvidal,” he said. “Those are the two fights that I wanted, even with all the legal things. If I have to wait, I’ll wait. I don’t care. Those are the fights that make sense and I want them."
The "legal things," of course, involve Masvidal's alleged assault on Covington in March outside of a Miami steakhouse following Covington's victory over his former teammate in UFC 272. Lawyers are still involved.
Meanwhile, MMA Mania’s readers’ poll has Covington the favorite to see Burns put him down. Whomever Burns ends up with, you can bet it will be classic.
And if you want to see Burns enjoying a fresh shipment of Kill Cliff, look here.