Las Vegas, NV — In his last bout, Gilbert Burns lost for the first time since a 2018 defeat to Dan Hooker at lightweight.
The difference being, Burns’ last bout was a welterweight title shot against champ Kamaru Usman. The fight did not go his way, and snapped a six-fight winning streak the Brazilian had put together.
Burns (19-4) reflected on the defeat during Wednesday’s UFC 264 media day. “The lesson that I learned was priceless,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press. “I learned so much, I’m grateful for what happened because I had to dig deep, so much, to understand why I was too emotional. And I did. I got good answers that I think if it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have those answers.”
“I’m grateful for those losses,” added Burns, who believes that they will stay with him and make him both a better person and a better fighter.
Heading into his UFC 264 fight with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, Burns acknowledged that emotions may have got the better of him last time. “For sure, the emotional— The way I went, too angry, it didn’t play as good as I thought. But in the same way, Kamaru is a great champion, he adjusted very well. I was impressed with his performance. I made a lot of mistakes, he was able to adjust.”
Burns remains motivated by another shot at the belt still held by Usman. He also sees himself as on a similar career arc to his current opponent. “I want to get the title again. I want to get to the title shot, I want to win that title, that’s my main goal.” Burns asked for the number one ranked fighter following the Usman loss, but was turned down. Same with number three. When the UFC offered Thompson, he jumped at it. “I said yes right away, and that is the fight to make. And I think stylistically, he’s a great match-up. Me and Wonderboy, we’re both on the same path. We fought for the title, we both got a little taste of that title, but we still want to be the champion.”
Burns also touched on fellow welterweight Leon Edwards, who has put together a stellar win streak but seems no closer to the belt. Asked what Edwards’ next move should be, Burns replied by saying that “I don’t know. He does whatever he wants. To be honest, I was cheering for him to finish Nate Diaz and get a title shot.” However, once Edwards ended up winning a decision in the Diaz fight, “I knew there wasn’t a big case, I knew Colby [Covington] was going to fight next.”
Watch the full UFC 264 media day scrum with Gilbert Burns above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.