DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – Gilbert Burns knows what’s been said, but he still thinks he’s got a shot at being the next challenger to UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
Burns, current top contender who’s fought for the title once before, is confident he can take Colby Covington’s promised championship bout with a dominant showing in his return to the cage. Burns (20-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) is set to take on Jorge Masvidal in the co-main event of UFC 287 on April 8 in Miami.
Despite UFC president Dana White confirming multiple times that Covington is next, Burns believes the right performance will put Covington behind him.
“One hundred percent, I can steal the show and put doubt on everyone’s mind,” Burns told MMA Junkie. “It all depends on the performance. If I go out there and dominate this guy and finish what Colby didn’t do in this last fight, what took Kamaru (Usman) seven rounds to do. If I go out there in one or two (rounds), I think that says a lot. So we’ll see. We’re still 11 days to the fight, there’s work to do, but I’m confident that I’m going to finish Jorge Masvidal.”
If Covington does indeed get the next title shot at 170 pounds, Burns won’t stress over it. He doesn’t think Covington’s recent form merist a championship fight, but the Brazilian will continue to stick to his philosophy: anyone, anywhere, anytime.
“It’s been almost one year since he fought Masvidal, and now he’s coming off two wins, two losses in his last four fights. He sat down for a year,” Burns said regarding Covington. “I remember the rumors after Khamzat (Chimaev) missed weight and fought Kevin Holland. He was supposed to fight Colby, and I don’t know what happened. Then it was Shavkat (Rakhmonov). He was supposed to fight Colby, and that never happened. Now that guy comes out of nowhere and steps in. Colby is smart, but I don’t know why the UFC is giving the opportunity to the guy, but it is what it is. I hope that doesn’t happen.
“I have the opportunity on April 8 to make a doubt in everyone’s mind and go out there and finish this guy spectacularly. I hope Leon is there. I hope Dana is there. I hope Colby is there. I will put on a clinic against this guy and try to get a title shot. But I’m not going to cry about it if they give it to Colby.
“I want a clear path. OK, everything goes good against Jorge, what should I do now? Otherwise, I just sit down and wait like this guy is doing and then deserve it. It’s not just because it’s me, but I’m willing to fight anyone, and I’ve proved that over and over. Yet, this guy sits down for a year and he gets the opportunity. I don’t know, it just doesn’t make sense. I’m not crying about it. He does whatever he wants to do. He talks and everyone talking about him now. But deserving, earning? I don’t think he did. I’m the only guy in the division that’s willing to fight anyone, and I’m going to keep doing that.”