PITTSBURGH – Jiu-jitsu world champion Gilbert Burns has some serious grappling skills, but after Saturday he’s happy to show he’s got the hands to go with them.
Burns’ (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) second-round finish of Jason Saggo (12-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in UFC Fight Night 116’s opening bout meant recovery from the second loss of his pro career. But, more than that, Burns believes scoring the first knockout of his UFC run also served to show he’s not a one-trick pony.
“One of the things that I started to put on my game is – a lot of guys, they just have the jiu-jitsu,” Burns told MMAjunkie after the lightweight bout, which aired on FS1 from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. “You just saw (welterweight contender) Demian Maia fight for the belt. And if he’s not able to take the guy down, that’s it. He can’t win the fight.
“And I always have that Plan B. I want to do my jiu-jitsu, but if something happens and I cannot take you down, I want to be able to strike with you.”
It might have taken him a while to get there, but at least Burns did it with style points. In what until that point had been quite an even match, he found a huge overhand right that sent Saggo straight to the mat. Burns even threw in a walk-off for good measure.
With three knockout wins to his name prior to the UFC, Burns knew his overhand packed power. In fact, his coaches reminded him of that in the locker room before he walked out. Now that there’s visual proof, however, he’s hoping the rest of the 155-pound division took notice.
“They’ve got to know I’m a danger everywhere,” Burns said. “On the ground, on the stand-up, the beginning of the round, the end of the round. I’m training so hard, I want to get to the next level in the UFC.”
While Burns doesn’t know the specifics of what this next level might entail, he’s hoping it means a quick turnaround, especially after sitting out an entire year following a UFC Fight Night 95 loss to fellow Brazilian Michel Prazeres.
“I’m ready to go,” Burns said. “I had a big layoff. My last fight was in September of last year. It was a loss, so I learned so much. I improved all my game. And I want to get back in there at the end of the year. December would be a great date.
“I saw a couple of guys that want to fight. Jim Miller, a lot of guys want to fight. I’m here. I’m ready. Anyone. December would be a great date for me.”
To hear more from Burns on his big win – and the solution he found to evade the hurricane chaos with his family – check out the video above.view original article >>