UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns is less than a week away from the biggest fight of his career against Demian Maia at UFC Brasilia.
The Brazilian fighter is currently ranked No. 12 in the UFC welterweight rankings and will look to break into the divisions top-10 with a win over Demian Maia. Burns is a 3-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion and plans to beat Maia on the ground.
Demian Maia is widely regarded as one of the best grapplers in the history of the sport, but this doesn’t phase Burns. He recently talked to BJPENN.com, discussing his upcoming bout against Maia. See what he had to say below:
“I thought he was going to say no and I was ready to move on. But, when he said yes, it was amazing,” Burns said. “It was a lot of mixed feeling though as I like Demian a lot and he’s a legend and I’m excited to test myself against him.”
Going into the fight, Demian Maia is still considered to be a top welterweight. He is currently ranked No. 5 in the division and is riding a 3-fight winning streak with victories over Lyman Good, Anthony Rocco Martin and Ben Askren.
Event at the age of 42, Maia is one of the best welterweight fighters in the world and this will be a clear step-up in competition for Burns, but he’s not phased by it and wants to challenge himself, as well as Maia:
“I want to grapple him and I have the skills to match his. I think even a decision win will put me in a good spot. But, a finish against Demian Maia will put me in a very good spot,” Burns explained. “As crazy as it sounds I plan to submit Maia, or like a ground and pound TKO. I see us grappling for the most part.”
If Burns was able to submit Demian Maia, he would become the first fighter to do so inside the Octagon. He believes that a win over Maia would catapult him into the top-5 at welterweight:
“It would put me in a beautiful spot in the division because he is a legend. He’s a future Hall of Famer. A decision win will put me like six or seven but a finish would put me top-five,” he said. “But, a finish over Maia puts me on a different level. I believe I will be able to get that finish.”
Burns has visualised getting his hand raised against Maia and already has his next opponent in mind. He would like to fight Colby Covington next and “put his hands on him” for all the things the former interim UFC welterweight champion has said about Burn’s country of Brazil:
“I am still focused on Maia but I really want to put my hands on Colby Covington. He talks so much crap about Brazil and I think it will be a great callout after I beat Maia. I don’t like what Colby has been saying about Kamaru, Brazil, and my former manager Glenn Robinson. I want to put my hands on him sooner or later. If I finish Maia he has to accept it. I have my right hand and my jiu-jitsu and I can finish Colby if we fought. But, I am focused on Maia.” Burns concluded.
UFC Brasilia is headlined by a lightweight scrap featuring Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira. The event takes place this weekend on the March 14, 2020 at Ginásio Nilson Nelson in Brasília, Brazil.
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 11th March, 2020.
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