Gilbert Burns revealed the secret behind his submission victory over Neil Magny at UFC 283 – his wife.
Burns may be a multi-time jiu-jitsu world champion, but the UFC welterweight contender’s penchant for standing and trading on the feet has been a hallmark of his performances in the Octagon.
However, that all changed on Saturday night at UFC 283, when he returned home to his homeland of Brazil and turned to his bread and butter, his BJJ, to claim a first-round submission finish of fellow contender Neil Magny in Rio.
Burns last competed in Brazil back in 2020 in Brasilia, but his victory over fellow grappling ace Demian Maia took place in an empty arena due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.
His last two appearances in front of the Brazilian fans saw Burns end up on the wrong end of unanimous decision verdicts, as he lost to Rashid Magomedov and Michel Prazeres in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
It meant that his victory at UFC 283 represented his first win in front of a Brazilian crowd since March 2015 and, speaking backstage at the Jeunesse Arena, Burns explained how supercharged he felt to compete, and win, in front of his fans once again.
“It means so much to be back in Brazil,” he said.
“My people, my city, my country, everybody was here. I had a lot of friends coming – my parents, my wife, my kids, so many friends. It means a lot, you know, to be able to do that for my guys kind of to give back.
“I know a lot of guys in Brazil, like Almeida, he lives all the way in Bahia in a small city, UFC are probably never going to be there. Even Glover, he’s from Belo Horizonte, from a small city, but I have the opportunity with the UFC coming to my city. I have all my friends and family here, so I have that privilege and I have to perform. There’s a lot of pressure. ”
Burns then revealed that a conversation with his wife may have had a direct influence on his approach to the fight with Magny, as he was left with clear instructions from his other half before he headed off into battle in Rio.
“It was crazy, because I was saying goodbye to my wife before I was coming to the fight. And then she said something that held on to me,” he revealed.
“She said, ‘I don’t want you to bang today. I want a quick submission. Don’t get hit. You promise you’re gonna do that?’ I said, ‘Yeah, OK. I promise. OK.’ I don’t want to make her mad. She’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu, too. So I’m like, ‘Yeah, OK!’
As the fight started, I was getting my distance and getting it going. And I saw the right hand there. I saw it and was, ‘OK, I’m gonna try to throw this so hard on this guy in the beginning.’
And then I kind of remembered the promise. ‘Oh, I gotta finish this guy. OK, OK, if the right hand doesn’t connect, I’m gonna shoot for takedown and then he stepped back, and the takedown was right there. ‘OK, I’m gonna finish this guy!’ But what she said just came back to my mind and I said (to myself), ‘Oh, OK. I got it!’
It took Burns just four minutes, 15 seconds to defeat Magny via arm-triangle choke as the Brazilian claimed his 21st career victory. And, with his post-fight callout of Colby Covington, as well as talk of a possible season of The Ultimate Fighter featuring the pair as rival coaches, big things could be on the horizon for “Durinho” in 2023.