UFC welterweight star Gilbert Burns defeated Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in the co-main event of UFC 264 earlier this month, and now the 34-year-old Brazilian believes he’s on the way back to another title shot against UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. To get all the way there, Burns revealed to Heavy in an exclusive interview that he believes there are “two options only” for his next fight, and he would be happy with either of them.
“It’s either going to be Leon Edwards, or it’s going to be Jorge Masvidal. That’s my two options,” Burns said.
Burns hasn’t begun the official opponent selection process yet with the UFC, but the company is aware of his desire for one of those two fights next. Moreover, Burns said his team and the UFC would sit down to sort all that out within the next two weeks.
“I don’t mind [either opponent],” Burns said.
Burns defeated Thompson by unanimous decision at UFC 264. In his previous bout, Burns lost a back-and-forth thriller by stoppage to Usman at UFC 258.
Burns wants another crack at Usman, and he expects to win his way there in the UFC’s stacked welterweight division.
ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!
Burns Leans Toward Edwards
While Burns is ready to fight either Edwards or Masvidal next, he knows which of those two fighters probably gets him where he wants to be in the UFC rankings sooner.
Burns is currently ranked No. 2 behind No. 1 contender Colby Covington and the division’s champ Usman.
“I think Colby Covington is going to be fighting for the title against Kamaru, and I’m right there. Kamaru is already fighting Colby, and I’m the next guy. I’m No. 1 after those two guys,” Burns said.
Burns believes he needs to get back into the cage, and he thinks one or two more wins there could earn him another chance at UFC gold.
“I do believe I got to put in a little more work to get another title shot. If me and Leon Edwards [fight]…that fight is going to be for the No. 1 contender,” Burns said.
But he also explained why Masvidal might be a solid option.
“If not, if Leon doesn’t want to fight, I’ll fight Jorge… He’s a big guy. He’s a big name. We can put it on pay-per-view. … Yeah, I like that one a lot,” Burns said.
Burns also suggested he would accept a showdown vs. UFC superstar Nate Diaz if that were offered to him.
“I’m always available for big fights. There’s no way I’m saying ‘no’ to these types of fights,” Burns said.
But Burns has his sights on getting back into the Octagon with Usman as soon as possible, so he knows he has to keep winning his fights against the right types of opponents for that to happen.
Edwards makes the most sense because of the UK star’s 10-fight unbeaten streak. He’s also coming off the biggest win of his career over Diaz at UFC 263, and he’s ranked No. 3 in the division right behind Burns.
Meanwhile, both Diaz and Masvidal are coming off losses.
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Burns Part of MMA’S Elite ‘Fight Club’
Burns is sponsored by Kill Cliff, a product billed as the world’s first and best clean energy drink.
So Burns was doing media rounds a week after his big win over Thompson at UFC 264 as a member of Kill Cliff’s Fight Club, an elite group of sponsored MMA stars that features UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, ex-UFC star and Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, ex-UFC champ Robbie Lawler, UFC legend Joseph Benavidez, and ONE Championship’s Aung La Nsang.
“I love Kill Cliff,” Burns said.
The 170-pound ace said the company sponsors his gym, Samford MMA, and that he loves the product most because he knows he can put it into his body without any kind of worry over the ingredients.
“The most important thing is clean energy,” Burns said.
You can watch Burns chat about all that and more below.
YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel