Gilbert Burns is looking to get into the top-15 of the UFC lightweight division, but that has been easier said than done. The Brazilian is riding a two-fight winning streak with wins over Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Mike Davis. However, the 32-year-old says many ranked fighters have simply turned down the contract to fight him.
Burns wanted to fight Alexander Hernandez, Gregor Gillespie, and Charles Oliveira — among others. Unfortunately, he’s had no luck finding a willing dance partner.
“Charles Oliveira was the UFC’s first pick. He said no a couple of times. The thing that I don’t understand, he says he wants a higher ranking guy, and he ends up getting a fight against my teammate, Nik Lentz,” Gilbert Burns said on BJPENN.com Radio. “Nik Lentz is not even on the ranking too. If you’re looking at the other ranking [databases], I’m right there. I’m kind of top 20, top 16, on a couple of different rankings. But he said no and he ends up fighting Nik Lentz. That was the main guy.
“We talked about Alexander Hernandez. He turned it down too. Gregor Gillespie, he was in [contract] negotiation. He turned it down, but I get it because the guy’s in negotiation, he’s okay,” the multiple time BJJ champ continued. “They talking about Drakkar Klose but he was having a wedding, so that’s okay too. I know guys are busy, but the guys that say no and get a fight right back, it’s a little bullshit, so I don’t believe it.
“John Makdessi, I just called him out. He says ‘I want to fight Joe Lauzon.’ Come on bro,” Burns added. “But if you have a wedding, if you just banged up for a fight, if you’re busy with something, I respect that. I know we have a personal life. But if the kind of fight, saying you want a high ranking guy, then you got another guy, come on bro. You’re running away from the fight.”
Gilbert Burns believes if he keeps on winning he will force the UFC’s hand. They will have no choice but to give him a top-15 opponent. But he remains frustrated that all these fighters are saying no to fighting him.
“Eventually, they got to put me on the top 15. They got to give me a guy. Until that, give me anyone, I don’t care. If I can pick, for sure I’ll get Alexander Hernandez, I would get James Vick,” Burns said. “Anyone that would put me there instead, or the guy that is already there. But to be honest, anyone. I don’t give a damn anymore. Give me anyone, I will fight.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/30/2019.