Unbeaten Herbert Burns scored five of his six MMA victories inside the ONE Championship cage, and he doesn’t understand why he hasn’t been booked to fight for almost one year.
Burns made quick work of Timofey Nastyukhin last September, nine months after scoring another first-round finish over former featherweight champion Honorio Banario, and is getting annoyed with the fact that he’s training for months waiting for a fight that never comes
"It’s taking forever," Burns told MMA Fighting. "Every time we ask, they say ‘next month.’ It’s been like this since November. I fought in September and came out injury-free, finished Timofey in the first round. They said that it would be a No. 1 contender fight against Timofey, and I finished him in the first round. It looked like I was going to get a title shot."
The title shot he was hoping was never given to him. Marat Gafurov was scheduled to take on champion Narantungalag Jadambaa on that same night, but claimed the interim belt when Martin Nguyen replaced the injured champion. Gafurov unified the belt two months later with a win over Jadambaa, and defended it once against Kazunori Yokota in May.
"I thought I’d probably fight (Gafurov) in February or March, but that didn’t happen," he said. "My manager Gilberto Faria kept contacting them and they simply say ‘next month.’ I’ve been waiting since November. Marat fought again in May. Christian Lee fought six times since my last fight, and I can’t get a fight."
ONE Championship has two cards planned for August. Lee is fighting Martin Nguyen on Aug. 13, looking to go 6-0 after five straight first-round stoppages since December. Burns is looking to be part of the Aug. 27 show in Jakarta, hoping to earn a shot at the gold once for all.
"They keep giving me empty promises," he said. "Last thing I heard was that I’m going to fight twice this year, and that I’ll probably fight on Aug. 27. I want a contract and an opponent. I haven’t stopped training since my last fight. I trained in Brazil, Thailand, Singapore, and I’m back to Blackzilians now. I just want to fight. It would be better if it’s for the belt, but based on what’s going on now, I just want to fight. Give me someone that can guarantee me a title shot next."
With five fights left in his contract, which expires in June 2017, Burns wants to stay active and make money.
"I can get a fight on short notice. Ten days, anything. I can fight at lightweight, too. No problem," he said. "I finished a tough guy in the first round in my last fight. I showed how dangerous I am, and I already am a new fighter since then. My striking is better, my wrestling is better, and you’ll see a different Herbert Burns. Give me a fight."