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Davi Ramos on why it would be ‘pleasure’ to fight former teammate Gilbert Burns in octagon

Davi Ramos faces Arman Tsarukyan at Saturday night's UFC Fight Island 2 show in Abu Dhabi.
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

ABU DHABI — Davi Ramos and Gilbert Burns are not on the same weight class in the UFC anymore, but “The Tasmanian Devil” wouldn’t mind changing divisions to share the octagon with his former teammate.

The jiu-jitsu experts trained together at Atos Jiu-Jitsu a decade ago, before “Durinho” won the IBJJF World Championship as a black belt and made the transition to MMA. In 2015, however, their relationship forever changed after a grappling match at the ADCC in Sao Paulo. Ramos won by submission and went on to win the gold medal.

Five years later, in an interview with MMA Hoje, Burns said he grappled with Ramos backstage to warm up on Day 1 of ADCC 2015, the day before they eventually faced off. When they were paired up on the mat, Burns recalled thinking “I used to beat him a lot in training, I’ll beat him up again,” but complained he was distracted by Ramos’ slaps before losing the match. Burns was also mad after re-watching the footage and seeing his former teammate celebrate the victory.

Ramos did not like any of the things “Durinho” said in that interview and posted a video of the ADCC match with a long statement about respect.

Speaking with MMA Fighting prior to his upcoming UFC bout, Ramos explained why he got so mad.

“We fought five years ago at the ADCC and spoke afterward, but I had no idea he kept that bitterness inside of him,” said Ramos, who today makes his return to the octagon against Arman Tsarukyan at UFC Fight Island 2 in Abu Dhabi. “That’s bad for him. If you have a problem with someone, you have to talk it out. He wasn’t man enough to come to me and say it. That upset me, you know? We fought, and we both pushed out heads, we both slapped each other. We fought and I won. And I can win or lose next time, it’s part of the sport we compete in.

“But he came trying to create an excuse that he lost to me because I slapped him and that was illegal, and then I took his back and submitted him. He created this whole narrative, saying a bunch of lies, that we trained together and he beat me up, that we went to the fight and he would beat me up again.

“You don’t talk about certain things. There are training sessions in the gym that I win and lose, but that’s training, that’s one guy trying to help the other. If one day I lost or he lost in training, that was during a session where we were trying to help each other become the winner. That’s the goal of training together, not to go out there and say, ‘I beat him up a lot.’

“I don’t understand why I won because I slapped him, and that’s why he lost the fight? That’s [weak]. That really upset me; I was upset with those words. If he had a problem with me, just come talk to me instead of going to the media.”

Ramos said he texted Burns congratulating him after the win over Tyron Woodley earlier this year, saying he was “applauding” his career. But he felt it was “disrespectful” of Burns to say the things he’s said in that interview. Ramos said he was blocked by his former teammate on Instagram after the long statement he wrote on social media.

“I hope he learns with this,” Ramos said. “It was a bad interview.”

Burns is expected to compete for the UFC welterweight championship against another longtime training partner in Kamaru Usman in 2020, but Ramos doesn’t think he gets it done.

“I think Usman has more weapons against him,” Ramos said. “I’m a Brazilian and I’ll always root for any Brazilian to being a belt to Brazil, but I don’t think he wins this fight.”

Burns was scheduled to face Usman on July 11, but had to withdraw from the main event of UFC 251 after testing positive for COVID-19. Usman fought late-notice replacement Jorge Masvidal and won a decision. A week has passed, and now it’s time for Ramos to get in action.

Ramos is eager to get back on track after losing a decision to Islam Makhachev at Abu Dhabi’s UFC 242 last September, while Tsarukyan — who also has a loss to Makhachev in his record — hopes to keep the momentum going following a win over Olivier Aubin-Mercier a year ago.

“The Tasmanian Devil” changed his diet after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the UFC to postpone his match with Tsarukyan from April to July. He said being 11 pounds lighter than usual “definitely helped me train better.”

When the cage door closes, he plans to use his grappling skills to secure his fifth UFC victory.

“He has a lot of weak points in his jiu-jitsu,” Ramos said. “Actually, I can see he doesn’t know much about jiu-jitsu. That’s the path to victory. Like I always say before every time I fight, I’m a complete fighter, and I’m ready to fight in all areas. I’ll try to use more of my jiu-jitsu now compared to my last fight, but I do believe he’ll try to stay on the feet the whole time instead of wrestling like he always does.

“He’ll try to stay away from me like Makhachev did. They are both excellent wrestlers but don’t want to wrestle me. Not only them, but every fighter that fights me will try to create that roadblock and not take me down.”

Ramos is focused on getting past Tsarukyan on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, but would be down to a MMA clash with “Durinho” one day.

“If he thinks he used to beat me up that much in the gym, it would be a pleasure to fight him in MMA,” Ramos said. “155, 170, 185. Any weight. Anywhere.”

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