The jiu-jitsu expert, who is the younger brother of UFC fighter Gilbert Burns, made quick work of Edward Kelly in his promotional debut in 2013, and defeated longtime MMA veteran Harris Sarmiento earlier this year to go 3-0 in MMA. He wants to add another submission win to his record, eyeing the One FC gold next.
"I’m really happy with the way that I’m building my MMA career so far," Burns told MMAFighting.com. "I’m happy to be fighting for a gigantic promotion like One FC. I’ve won my fights, I’m happy with my work, and I’m hungry for more."
"I consider myself ready now," he said. "I’m a top contender in the One FC featherweight division, and with this win I hope to be closer to a title fight."
Training at Evolve MMA in Asia, Burns is confident that he will become the first fighter to submit Tanaka (10-1) at One FC 19.
"He’s really tough, has a solid career in Japan. He has a world class boxing, but I see holes in his game, and that’s where I’ll be working on to get another win," he said.
"Tanaka is tough, but I prepared the right strategy for him. My camp at Evolve was great, I trained with (Shinya) Aoki, Tarec Saffiedine, Bruno Pucci, Eddie Ng, Leandro Issa and a lot of other great fighters, so it got me ready. Evolve MMA is the No. 1 gym in Asia, training was really great. They got me ready for this fight, and I will impose my game."
The Brazilian prospect is aware of Tanaka’s striking skills and makes no mystery about his game plan. He wants to take it to the ground, but don’t expect him to rush for a double leg just to avoid a stand-up battle.
"I always want to finish the fight, so I’m training hard to finish this one. I will do everything I can to finish him," he said. "The fight always starts standing and I won’t hesitate to trade punches with him, but I’m a jiu-jitsu guy and I will always have a huge advantage on the ground, so I will take him down as soon as I can to work on a submission."
Burns couldn’t tap 62-fight veteran Sarmiento in his last One FC appearance, and he wasn’t happy about it.
"I’m not disappointed, but I’m not satisfied with the fact that I couldn’t finish the fight," he said. "But I have to look at my opponent, a really tough and experienced fighter. Sarmiento was the lightweight champion in a different promotion here in Asia, and has more than 60 fights on his record.
"I locked a guillotine, and thought I had it, but he defended it well. I tried other submissions, but couldn’t get it. I worked with my striking game and won the decision. I wish I had submitted him, but I can’t say I’m disappointed because of it."