Gilbert Burns said the judges can take the night off when he faces Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273.
Burns was hoping to be able to fight in Brazil, but the chance to compete in his adopted home state of Florida is the next best thing, and “Durinho” is happy and ready for his next test against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273 in Jacksonville.
“Very happy, you know,” he told Fighters Only.
“The only place where I would have been more happy would have been if they had the event in Brazil. But the next best thing that they could do was bring the event to Florida so I’m very happy to fight right here.
“I’ve got a lot of friends, teammates, family going so I’m very happy. I don’t need to travel, go on a plane, get a mask, this and that. So I’m very happy so I’ve just got to drive to Jacksonville.”
As well as not having to fly across the country for his latest assignment, Burns also has the luxury of having a bigger than usual team on hand for his upcoming bout, thanks to the presence of two of his Sanford MMA teammates on the same fight card.
“We have three guys fighting (with) Ian Garry and Mickey Gall, as well,” he said.
“So I think we might have all the coaches in there, with a bunch of fighters. So yeah, it’s gonna be a good, good vibe in there.”
Things may be comfortable for Burns heading toward the event, but he also knows he faces a tough test against Chimaev, who has shown immense promise in his short UFC career so far.
“Borz’s” performances to date have seen him earn considerable hype, but Burns said that, despite appreciating Chimaev’s abilities, he’s not fully sure whether the Chechen-born Swede is ready for the elite level of the UFC’s welterweight division just yet.
“It’s a lot of hype, but if it’s justified, I don’t know,” he admitted.
“But I do know he’s a very tough opponent and I gotta respect his abilities. But we’ll test (him). He’s gonna be a good test for me. He’s super confident, undefeated, looks like a very big guy (and) has a very hard weight cut. But I’m looking forward to it.
“I think he’s very, very tough. But I do believe I’m going to get the win, so I’m very confident. I think he’s a little bit overconfident. But, you know, I have a lot of experience being in this game, fighting the best guys in the world. So for me, it’s going to be another big fight. Nothing more than that.”
Chimaev has made a name for himself by claiming rapid-fire finishes in each of his UFC appearances to date, and Burns expects his opponent to push the pace on him from the opening bell in Jacksonville.
“I do think he gonna try to get it done quick,” he suggested.
“I think he’s gonna come very strong in the first round, maybe with a little bit more striking because I’m not a striker. I can strike, but I’m not a striker, I’m a natural grappler.
“I do think he’s gonna try to be a little bit more of a striker but who knows? That’s what I think, but I’ll be ready with the wrestling, with the grappling, with the striking. I do think he’s going to strike a little bit more, that’s the feeling that I have. But, you know, one good punch might change that and he goes back to wrestling, so we’ll see.”
However Chimaev approaches the bout, Burns said he’s ready for the challenge, and predicts a fight that won’t require the services of the octagonside judges, regardless of who wins the bout.
“I think it’s going to be late finish, maybe the end of the second round, or maybe the third round, but I see myself getting the win and getting a finish,” he stated.
“I don’t believe it’s going to a decision. I do believe I’m going to win and it’s going to be a finish. But even if I lose, I don’t think it’s going to be by decision.”
Gilbert Burns is an ambassador for Love Hemp.