After an absence of nine months, Gilbert Burns made his return to the octagon and ultimately prevailed over Neil Magny in the Jeunesse Arena of Rio de Janeiro in less than five minutes. Burns, however, is still focused on Belal Muhammad and intends to confront him as soon as possible.
The welterweight fighter last year only had one fight against Khamzat Chimaev, which he lost. The 36-year-old fighter has been eyeing a comeback to the octagon ever since. His bout with Jorge Masvidal was ultimately scrapped due to technical difficulties.
The Brazilian MMA fighter revealed that he was originally scheduled to face someone other than Neil Magny at last night’s UFC 283. Burns expressed his frustration saying, “It was supposed to be [Jorge] Masvidal, [and there was] a lot of back and forth, [but] he didn’t take the fight,”
Burns, despite the fact that he ended up fighting Neil Magny, had hoped to face Belal Muhammad. The UFC had attempted to negotiate with Muhammad, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Burns’ reaction is understandable given that he has stated repeatedly that he will only fight top contenders.
“The fight was even offered to Belal Muhammad. That was the fight the UFC wanted to make, but he was one of these guys – ‘Oh, I’ll fight him, but not in Brazil, not right now, not on that date,’ and Neil Magny stepped up and he took the fight.” said Burns.
— Jason Williams (@jasoneg33) January 22, 2023
Gilbert made his debut in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2014, and after ten years, his record stands at 13-5. Burns took a shot at Belal while he was refusing to fight him, questioning his ability to be ranked as high as number four.
“He beat a guy in Sean Brady, all due respect to this guy, he’s very, very good but I have nothing to do with that fight. How the heck he passed me in the rankings?” I was No. 4, and he beat Sean Brady, that was maybe No. 7 or 8, I don’t know what number he was at the time and he passed me in the rankings and when the fight is offered, he don’t want to fight. That was very frustrating. I thought that was going to be the fight.” said Gilbert.
— MMA Fighting (@MMAFighting) January 22, 2023
If Burns were to defeat Belal, who is currently ranked number four in the welterweight division, it would put Belal in a better position to challenge for the title once more. Burns is currently ranked number six in the division. However, after his win over Magny, he immediately challenged the number five Colby Covington to a bout.