Gilbert Burns got his wish as he will indeed fight Demian Maia in the co-main event of UFC Brasilia. Yet, the fight almost didn’t come to fruition.
Burns, who is now 2-0 at welterweight with two short-notice wins over Alexey Kunchenko and Gunnar Nelson says mutual friends between him and Maia said the Brazilian legend didn’t want to take the fight.
“The UFC talked to my manager and me and they offered the fight. We immediately said yes and we waited on Demian,” Burns told BJPENN.com. “We have some mutual friends that told me he may not accept the fight. So, we had to wait for it. The friends told me he has only two fights left and he only wants it to be against big names so I didn’t think he was going to take the fight.”
Burns said he was told Maia and his team wanted to fight a big-name opponent like Stephen Thompson or a big-name opponent like that. He doesn’t know why Maia changed his mind but he is glad he did as they now get to fight in their home country of Brazil.
“It is the date and I haven’t been to Brazil in a long time for a fight so it is awesome being able to fight there,” Burns said.
Now that the fight is agreed to for UFC Brasilia, Burns is upping his intensity in training preparing for the biggest fight of his life. He looks up to Maia but knows a win over the 42 year old catapults his career and his spot in the rankings.
“That fight would play out amazing. I am the better striker and great jiu-jitsu to balance out his jiu-jitsu. I have great cardio, and I think that I would win and it would change my career,” Burns concluded. “A win puts my career on another level. It’s a fight I’m looking forward to.”
Who do you think will win the fight between Gilbert Burns and Demian Maia at UFC Brasilia?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/8/2020.