UFC welterweight contenders Gilbert Burns and Vicente Luque have always been very open about the fact they would never agree to face each other inside the octagon, but that didn’t stop the promotion from trying to book the matchup.
Speaking on a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, “Durinho” revealed that the UFC approached Ali Abdelaziz, who manages both fighters, with an offer to pair them up next, but they turned it down immediately.
“[The long wait for a fight] is a bit frustrating, I won’t say it isn’t, but it’s part of the job,” Burns said. “The UFC said the fight to make would be Vicente and I, but since we have this partnership, it won’t happen. This brotherhood screwed us, otherwise we would have fought already. If we had fought, No. 2 against No. 4, I’d be way up there with a win, and Vicente would be up there with a win as well. I think that’s what’s keeping us stuck, more than the other guys [in the division].”
Burns said he asked his manager to inform him of every single offer the UFC makes even if Abdelaziz doesn’t consider it a good idea, and that’s how he became aware of the opportunity.
“It makes sense [based on] the rankings,” Burns said. “They know we won’t fight but still asked and tried to make it happen, but we declined. Vicente was the only fight I turned down in the entire division and vice versa. Other than that, I’ve already said I’ll fight anyone.”
Is there any hypothetical scenario that could convince the Sanford MMA teammates to agree to enter the octagon against each other?
“Only if it’s the case of them coming with Floyd Mayweather money and Vicente and I talk and get to the point of like, ‘Let’s fight just for the money.’ Only if it’s something like that,” he said. “Other than that, there’s no way. And [Mayweather money] won’t happen. Only if it’s a life-changing stuff that we talk and see we have to take it. Other than that, I think it’s very difficult.”
Running out of options at the top of the 170-pound class, “Durinho” said he would likely agree to face welterweight sensation Khamzat Chimaev, seeing himself as a “bad matchup” for a number of contenders.
“Leon Edwards, if you think about it, why he won’t take the fight? Because it’s a dangerous fight for him, otherwise he would fight me or Vicente.” Burns said. “The same thing with Colby [Covington]. Colby knows damn well who I am. Why did he ask for [Jorge] Masvidal? Oh, there’s a [rivalry]? Sure, but, if he wants the belt, he knows that’s not the path to go. I know who I am and the danger I am in this division. It’s frustrating, but I’m past that. I’m staying ready, and I’ll be the first to raise my hand when the opportunity comes.”