Gilbert Burns said his defeat of Jorge Masvidal doesn’t detract from his opponent’s star power in “Gamebred’s” home town, as he said the only coronation he wants to receive is as champion of the UFC’s welterweight division.
Burns defeated Masvidal via unanimous decision in the co-main event of UFC 287 in Masvidal’s home town of Miami and, speaking to the UFC’s Mackenzie Pavacich backstage after his victory, “Durinho” said he suffered no ill effects from his bout with “Gamebred.”
“I feel great. No injuries, no scars, no scratches, nothing. I feel great, for sure,” he grinned.
“I would love to have a finish – that was the plan, knockout, submission – but he was so freaking slippery. That’s the old guy trick. He was so slippery.”
But, despite suggesting Masvidal had used an old “greasing” trick to make it harder to control him on the ground, Burns said he had to fight smart in order to ensure he picked up the crucial victory.
“If I know I cannot finish him, if I know I cannot knock him out, I’ve gotta dominate, and I think that’s exactly what I did. I had three takedown attempts (and) three takedowns, I knocked him down. I felt great in there.”
Burns also revealed that his faint grasp of Spanish helped him to pick up some crucial tactical pointers from Masvidal’s corner during the bout.
“I was listening to his coach. I have that broken Spanish with me. And I hear his coach, ‘Hey, if he goes down, uppercut and you’ll be right there.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not going down!’ I’m listening to everything!
“The guy has a lot of tricks, he’s a freaking dog. He threw a couple of good shots in there, nothing that hurt me, but I had my guard very good. I’m getting better and I don’t get too much hit. I work a lot on that with my coach and am more relaxed. I like it. 2023, two fights, two wins, one finish, one dominant win. Looking forward to the next one.”
After the bout, Masvidal announced his retirement, while Burns declared his intention to fight for the title in his next outing, and demanded to be the backup fighter for Leon Edwards’ mooted title defense against Colby Covington later this summer.
“The bosses talked to me, you know? Both of them, they said ‘Colby is next, for sure… but you’re next (after that).’ And I might be a backup, we’ll see. I might go to London. But let’s see.
“I’m willing to fight anyone, any time and be proving over and over again, but not this time. I want to go to London as the backup, and I want to be the next one in line for the title. And I’m so committed, I’m so professional. I’ve seen a lot of things in my life. This is the year I’m going to be the champion. I just need the opportunity, and I think today I earned the opportunity.”
And, despite defeating Masvidal, Burns magnanimously conceded that his opponent remained the big draw in Miami, with the crowd showing their appreciation for Masvidal before, during, and after their co-main event clash.
“He’s still the king (of Miami),” Burns admitted.
“The guy is born and raised here. He’s a warrior. Fifty-two pro fights, still at the top of the game. Yeah, a lot of respect to Jorge. I think they will adopt me as a new guy.
“I am king of Brazil now. Aldo retired, so I’m the king of Rio, the king of Brazil. I don’t want to be the king of Miami. Let Jorge be the king (of Miami), I want to be the king of the welterweight division.”