Brazilian welterweight Gilbert Burns, affectionately known as "Durinho," has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the UFC. This weekend, he will make his third appearance in 2023 at the UFC 288 event, having already defeated Neil Magny and Jorge Masvidal earlier this year.
Saving the Night: Burns vs. Muhammad
When the co-headlining fight between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush was cancelled, Burns stepped up to the plate and called out Belal Muhammad. Muhammad, who has won eight of his last nine matches and is currently fourth in the list of title challengers, agreed to fight on short notice.
A win for either fighter could potentially secure a title shot, with Colby Covington next in line to challenge current champion Leon Edwards.
Masvidal's Take on the Fight
Jorge Masvidal, who recently fought and lost to Burns, shared his thoughts on the upcoming match with MMA Junkie.
He praised both fighters for their skills, with Burns having "different weapons with a little bit better power" and Muhammad being "cleaner with the boxing." “I think it’s going to be a good fight for (Burns) – tough,” Masvidal told MMA Junkie.
“I think Belal has, in the cardio department, more advantages in the grappling, I think. Gilbert has different weapons with a little bit better power than Belal. So I think it’s going to be a very interesting, good fight.
I could see either one of them winning, actually. I think Belal is a little cleaner with the boxing”. “That’s what fighters when I was coming up used to do ,and then it kind of faded out where fighters didn’t want to fight no more,” Masvidal said. “Like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to put my prestigious 3-0 record in the UFC up.’ This is the fight world.
Everybody is going to fight everybody. You get down and dirty and nasty and get after it. “He just had the biggest win of his career, Gilbert, and here he is fighting Belal. He could have just sat out now until a title shot and he’s getting the title shot at some point, no doubt about that.
But that just shows Gilbert is a fighter, and people should get behind him because that’s what he’s coming to do is fight”.
A Champion in Spirit
Masvidal also commended Burns for his willingness to fight anyone, anywhere, and at any time.
He stated that in the past, fighters used to be more willing to fight, but now many are more calculated and avoid certain matches. Burns, on the other hand, is simply waiting for a call from the UFC and will accept whatever fight they offer him. This, according to Masvidal, makes Burns a champion in spirit, even if he doesn't win the belt.