Las Vegas, NV — Gilbert Burns got back in the win column at UFC 264, putting on a smart performance against the always-dangerous Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in the co-main event.
In a fight not always beloved by the crowd in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, “the game plan was to stay disciplined, hands up, take him down, smash him, make sure I control him when I take him down,” Burns told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight. “Don’t hunt the submission in the first round like I did with Woodley, and end up losing. So stay on top, controlling him, smashing him, that was a little bit of the game plan. But for sure I always want to finish. I felt bad that I didn’t have a finish, but I beat a guy that a lot of guys lost [to], that a lot of guys didn’t want to fight. For sure, I feel special.”
The Woodley fight, despite Burns’ concerns, went his way, earning him a title shot against Kamaru Usman. That welterweight title shot did not have a happy ending for Burns, and it was that performance he was coming off of Saturday. Burns gave plenty of credit to training partners, including two Bellator MMA standouts, Jason Jackson and Raymond Daniels.
As for the crowd booing at points throughout the fight with Thompson, he noted that “I just lost my fight for the title because I was undisciplined. It wasn’t as hard to stay disciplined, I want to win, I want to become champion. They gave me such a tough guy to fight, a guy that Leon [Edwards] said no [to], Colby [Covington] said no [to]. I said ‘hey give me this guy, I don’t care.’ I’ve got to stay disciplined.”
“They were booing, I don’t care. It was good,” Burns later added.
Burns, who improved to 20-4 with the win, also gave his thoughts on Conor McGregor breaking his leg in the UFC 264 main event.
“It’s unfortunate, you know? It’s a crazy sport, it’s a tough sport. I saw what happened with Anderson Silva, I saw what happened with Chris Weidman not long ago, we saw what happened to Conor. It’s unfortunate, it’s a very hard sport, we’ve got to appreciate these guys out there putting on a show,” said Burns. “It’s unfortunate, I was looking forward so much for this fight, but it is what it is. I think Conor has got to take for sure a little time off, heal up.”
Watch the full UFC 264 post-fight press conference with Gilbert Burns above.