Rio de Janeiro -UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns is expecting a big pop on Saturday night at UFC 283 when he makes the walk to the octagon to face Neil Magny in Brazil.
“Great to be here. My wife and my kids just got here. Lot of friends coming I think I sold a lot of tickets. I’m going to talk to the boss man see if he can hook me up with something because I sold a lot of tickets, so I’m happy,” Burns told reporters on Wednesday.
Burns (20-5) is currently ranked #5, but he’s facing Magny who is ranked lower than him at #12. Burns expressed a bit of frustration with the lack of opponents ranked higher than him.
“I was frustrated because after the Khamzat (Chimaev) fight I went to the office. I had a great meeting with Dana (White) and Hunter (Campbell). They said they’re going to give me a big fight. We kind of got on the same page the name was (Jorge) Masvidal. Fight was offered (for) November then December. I wasn’t getting a fight and then I saw they scheduled a card in Brazil. I said ok I’m back in Brazil,” Burns said.
“You guys want me there, they said yes, so we got a fight in here, and I was just waiting for the opponent. They tried Masvidal I don’t know what happened. They tried Belal Muhammad too, but they didn’t accept. I was so happy because I was watching that event and Neil Magny called me out.”
Burns was happy just to get an opponent for the card in his home country.
“Just called Ali (Abdelaziz, Burns manager), I text Dana and said hey if everyone (else) says no, I’m fighting this guy (Magny). I don’t care. It got to a point that…just give me someone, you know, and I’m happy that it’s Neil Magny,” said Burns.
“He stepped up so I like that.”
Magny (27-9) is coming off a submission victory over Daniel Rodriguez in Nov. 2022.
“I’m not overlooking (Magny) for sure. It’s been hard to keep my focus on it because everybody (asks) what’s next? I said there’s no next. I can say next is Colby (Covington), next is this guy, but if I lose to Neil Magny then I’m four steps behind. So I’m focused on this guy,” Burns said.
“This guy is long. 6’3 foot tall, good range, experienced, fought a lot of guys. I’m kind of expecting that he’s going to try to throw a lot of knees. Try to stay on the outside. If I rush to come in I think he’s going to try to kind of clinch a little bit. Very smart. I’m not overlooking this guy.”
Burns may not be talking about who is next, but next may be talking about him. Jorge Masvidal has spoken about fighting Burns in London in March which would make it a quick turnaround for Burns.
“If everything goes good, I pass by Neil Magny, and they offer me ‘You want to turnaround?’ I will. It’s no question that if they offer me a fight for sure I will take it,” he said.
“But I think it depends. I fought the guys behind me and then let’s say if I beat both of these guys, I still got to pass Colby. We’ve got to see what makes more sense. If everything goes my way…I’m trying to look forward you know.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Gilbert Burns above. Burns faces Neil Magny at UFC 283 on Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro.