Undefeated lightweight Gilbert Burns will take some time off MMA to get back to his jiu-jitsu roots.
Fresh off a submission victory over Christos Giagos at UFC 179 in Brazil, "Durinho" will put on the gi to meet fellow jiu-jitsu world champion Leandro Lo at Copa Podio on Nov. 22 in Rio de Janeiro. But there’s a catch.
Unlike Metamoris, where grapplers battle in 20-minute matches, Burns and Lo will grapple until one taps. It could be over in one minute or in one hour, and that’s what makes "Durinho" excited about it.
"This is my first time in a challenge like this," Burns told MMAFighting.com. "I always loved watching this type of challenge. Wallid (Ismail) against Royce (Gracie) was unforgettable. I’ve written my name in the history of jiu-jitsu and I’m trying to make history in the UFC, and this match (against Lo) is really important for me. I’m super excited."
After taking a few days off following his quick win at UFC 179, Burns put on the gi to train for Lo.
"I love to train," he said. "I got back to the gym to train three days after my last fight. I’m always training, especially jiu-jitsu. I just had to use the gi this time, work on my grip. I had three weeks to prepare, but it wasn’t hard. No secret. I’ve competed for years, I’m experienced. I know what I have to do to perform well in this competition."
Burns became the jiu-jitsu lightweight world champion in 2011, and Lo won the lightweight title in 2012 and 2013. The last time they met on a grappling mat Burns won by points at the NoGi World Championship in 2013.
"Lo is a really tough fighter, but I’m trained," Burns said. "If you buy a ticket to watch the event, or buy the online pay-per-view, you’ll see me attacking the whole time. I won’t stop until I submit him.
"Everything is in my favor. I only see the positive side of things. I’m a submission guy. He works for points most of the times, but there are no points in this match, so that’s an advantage for me. I will attack and submit. I’ll eventually end this match with a submission."
After facing Lo at Copa Podio, Burns turns his attention back to the UFC.
At 2-0 inside the Octagon with wins over Giagos and Andreas Stahl, "Durinho" eyes an early 2015 return against top competition.
"I’m hungry. I won’t stop training. I’m focused on this match against Lo, and then I’ll start my camp for my next UFC fight," Burns said. "I believe I’ll be ready to fight in January or February. Right after Copa Podio, I’ll go back to Florida and train at Blackzilians.
"There are a lot of great fighters I’d like to fight in the UFC," he continued. "I’m new in the UFC, but I would love to fight Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller, fighters with a good jiu-jitsu, or maybe Michael Chiesa. I’m willing to face tough competition. I want tough fights, but I can’t choose opponents. I’m fighting to be the UFC champion."