Gilbert Burns spent the past few months campaigning for a fight with Jorge Masvidal, but it never materialized. With Masvidal telling MMA Fighting it was never officially offered nor agreed on his side, “Durinho” calls him a “liar.”
Speaking on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca, Burns said he was in direct contact with UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby, who apparently insisted on trying to make the fight on three separate dates between November and January. In the end, Burns will face Neil Magny at UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“We wanted the Masvidal fight but then he kept stalling, and I said, ‘just give me anyone,’” Burns said. “Geoff Neal called me out and I asked the UFC to make the fight but they said ‘no, we will make the Masvidal fight.’ Sean Shelby insisted on it. ‘We will make this fight, that’s the fight we want.’ … And then they said I would definitely fight in Rio. ‘If [Masvidal] doesn’t want it, we’ll find someone else.’ It was a nightmare to find another opponent, nobody agreed to it until Neil Magny did.”
“I have no reason to lie,” he continued. “The fight was offered to Nov. 12, and he asked for more time. They offered for Dec. 10 and he said ‘yes’ at first, but then told Sean Shelby he would fight me in Rio. When Sean Shelby told me that, I was like, ‘bullsh*t’. I started planning my whole camp to fight this guy in Rio, and he backed out three weeks later.”
Masvidal indicated he’s open to facing the Brazilian in London, likely on the same card where Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman are expected to collide for the welterweight belt, but “Durinho” said he’s not obsessed with the idea of calling him out again.
“It’s a fight the UFC wants, you know? I don’t even need to ask for this fight because I know the UFC wants to make it happen,” he said. “I would ask for a rematch with Khamzat [Chimaev], or Colby [Covington]. I would ask for everybody, really. But it’s a fight the UFC wants. He’s hard to negotiate and whatever. But I can’t think past Neil Magny. I have to beat him up first and then see who I’ll ask for.
“If the UFC wants to do it, of course I’ll fight, but it’s not a fight I’ll keep chasing. He’s coming off three losses, No. 11 [in the ranking] or whatever. He’s not in his best moment. It’s good to get a bit off his fame and whatever but that doesn’t do anything for me to become champion.”
In terms of a match-up, Burns said Masvidal has more knockouts in his record but “cardio king” Magny can present more difficulties inside the octagon. Burns lost his most recent bout to Chimaev in a thrilling three-round war, while Magny tapped Daniel Rodriguez this past November.
“If I put pressure on Masvidal, he’s tired by the second round. Neil Magny doesn’t get tired,” Burns said. “Everybody that underestimates [Magny] loses to him. He has 20 wins in the division, he just broke the record. Even though he’s not a top-5 guy, he’s a veteran. I kind of have the pressure over me. I have to end this fight and that’s what I’m training for.
“He called me out to fight in Brazil so he’s asking for it, right? I’ll give him something. It won’t go unanswered. You wish has been granted, so brace yourself because I’m coming to beat you up.”