UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns reacted to the news from UFC president Dana White that he will fight the winner of Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal.
Burns was set to fight Usman for the UFC welterweight title in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 251 pay-per-view, but he was pulled from the fight last Friday after testing positive for COVID-19. The UFC then struck a deal with Masvidal to fill in on short notice as Burns’ replacement, and the megafight between Usman and Burns headlines this weekend’s card.
After Burns lost his title shot, there was chatter about who would be next in line for the belt, with names like Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, and even Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz being tossed around as potential options for the winner of Saturday night’s big fight. However, according to White, Burns is still next in line to fight for the belt.
“He’s the No. 1 contender. He’s the No. 1 ranked guy in the world. Yeah, he’s the No. 1 guy in the world. The kid is hungry. He wants to fight. He wants to be a world champion and he’s No. 1. Yeah, that puts him in a pretty good spot,” White told MMAjunkie.com.
Burns saw the good news and reacted to it right away on Twitter, indicating that he’s excited to finally get his title shot after the coronavirus stole it from him.
LET’S GO 🔥🔥 https://t.co/i3GhIW1hVa
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) July 10, 2020
Burns (19-3) is one of the hottest welterweights in the sport right now. The 33-year-old Brazilian has been on a tear in recent years as he’s currently riding a six-fight wins streak that includes a perfect 4-0 mark as a welterweight. After dispatching of Alexey Kunchenko and Gunnar Nelson in his first two appearances at 170lbs, Burns took it to the next level with a KO victory over Demian Maia and a dominant decision win over Tyron Woodley.
Of course, just because White is saying this now doesn’t mean that things can’t change. First off, Burns still needs to test negative for COVID-19. He’s expected to make a full recovery but until he does the UFC can’t actually book him for a fight. And second, if a megastar like McGregor or Diaz made enough noise, there’s no doubt they could potentially jump the title queue if the fans want the fight bad enough. But as of right now, the plan is for Burns to take on the winner of Saturday night’s big fight.
Do you think Dana White is making the right call in giving Gilbert Burns the next title shot at 170lbs?