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Gilbert Burns: Either Jorge Masvidal or UFC lying about fight offer

Gilbert Burns certainly wanted to fight Jorge Masvidal in his next UFC outing, but after months of back and forth, he’s moving on.

“I was [surprised] because he said my name multiple times on a couple occasions in different interviews,” Burns said backstage at UFC 282. “He said he was going to do one more fight this year, and I was like, OK, it’s happening.

“But then, s***, it took so long. The way I see it, he was kind of keeping me going. ... ‘Oh, later, oh, next fight, next pay-per-view,’ and I was waiting for the fight. I guess it’s a very hard fight for him. He’s coming from three losses to fight me. It’s a good reward if he beats me – if – it’s going to be a good reward, but it’s a big risk, I think.”

Burns was one opponent Masvidal welcomed for a return following a trio of losses in bouts against ex-champ Kamaru Usman and, most recently, Colby Covington. Burns, in response, gave the thumbs up and even offered a no-takedown sweetener. Then Burns and the world waited.

After several months of waiting, Burns got frustrated and accused Masvidal of turning down multiple fights, prompting a fiery response from the two-time title challenger. Masvidal said he had never been offered a fight Burns. The Brazilian vet is sure that at least on his end, there was an offer.

“He was lying, for sure, or Hunter and the UFC were lying,” Burns said. “I don’t believe they were. But they offered me Jorge. ‘You want to fight Jorge?’ That was the question. ‘You want to fight Jorge at MSG?’ You know what I’m saying. I said, ‘For sure.’ And then after that, they said, ‘He’s not ready. We can make it Dec. 10.’ I said yes.

“And after that, Jorge told us, ‘He’s going to fight you in Brazil.’ And I said, ‘No, he didn’t say that.’ [They said], ‘No, he said that.’ I said, ‘Well s***.’ Then after a little bit, the fight’s off the table, we’re going to fight another guy in Brazil. A couple of guys declined, and Neil Magny it is.”

At UFC 283, Burns will get on with his career by facing Magny at the Jan. 21 pay-per-view event in Rio de Janeiro. It’s his first bout since a “Fight of the Year” meeting with Khamzat Chimaev ended in a decision loss. But he is resolved to get his career back on track.

A Masvidal win would undoubtedly give that a kickstart, which is why Burns agreed to it in the first place. Racking up wins is the other way to get back to a title shot, so “Durinho” see another path.

“For sure, I’m not going to be chasing Jorge, but I’m going to chase another fight real quick,” Burns said. “Not passing over Neil Magny – I cannot make that mistake again. I’ve got to destroy this guy in Rio, and looking for another guy. That’s the goal – to get three finishes, three wins, and earn another title shot.”

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