Gilbert Burns is unsure if a win over welterweight sensation Khamzat Chimaev will automatically grant him another shot at the UFC belt, and that’s why he sees Colby Covington as his definitive next step before a second crack at gold.
That said, ”Durinho” doesn’t believe Covington will ever agree to face him.
Covington defeated American Top Team rival Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 272 on March 5 and immediately called out another former teammate, lightweight contender Dustin Poirier.
“Covington dropped the ball by asking for Poirier instead of a [welterweight] contender,” Burns said on a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca. “He doesn’t accept fights. That’s the hard part. I’ve been trying to get a fight with Colby for years and can’t.”
Burns has only lost once as a 170-pounder in the UFC, a third-round knockout at the hands of champion Kamaru Usman. Covington has also lost twice to Usman, which remain his only defeats in more than six years. Over that period of time, Covington has defeated notable names like Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, Robbie Lawler, and Tyron Woodley.
“Colby is very smart,” said Burns, who beat Stephen Thompson in his most recent octagon appearance. “If you look at his fights, he doesn’t fight anyone who’s coming off a win. ‘Oh, if it wasn’t for Usman, he’d be champion.’ Really? Fighting against nobodies, no contenders? He’s someone I’d like to fight. [Do] I think this fight is really going to happen? I don’t know, he doesn’t accept it and negotiates well, goes out there and talks a bunch of crazy stuff and a lot of people like his crazy talk. What can I do?
“I don’t think he’s this monster, the king of cardio, but he fights people at the end of their careers, Masvidal, and does well. But he’s on my list. He’s one of the first on my list to fight.”
Covington won a dominant decision over Masvidal earlier this year at UFC 272. Burns thought it was a good performance, but said “Gamebred” is also to blame.
“I wanted Masvidal to win, but when he got in there, you could see he wasn’t shredded, he wasn’t in shape, you could see some spare tire,” Burns said. “I was like, ‘Damn, this guy didn’t train that hard.’ And it went down as I expected — Colby taking him down, a boring fight. Colby is good with the takedowns, has good volume, but I don’t think he’s exceptional with his striking, doesn’t have heavy hands or kicks that hurt.
“He has this annoying volume of taking you down and staying on top, but doesn’t have effective jiu-jitsu, won’t take you down and finish you, won’t ground and pound you like Khabib [Nurmagomedov], who rips you apart. This is a fight I want in the future. It was a good performance but not something we didn’t expect. It wasn’t like, ‘Wow, he killed the guy.’ He won, but no big deal.”
“Durinho” said he wanted Masvidal to win because he doesn’t like Colby’s style of trash talk, even if the Brazilian welterweight regrets some s***-talking” he has done in the past when trying to secure fights with Leon Edwards and Covington himself.
“You can talk trash, of course,” Burns said. “It’s free speech, you can say whatever you want, but I don’t agree with the disrespect. Talking about moms, talking sh*t about Brazil, talking sh*t about Dustin, talking about Dustin’s wife, about Masvidal’s ex-wife. I think he crosses the line a lot.
“[Colby] has lost all my respect, and then two Brazilians come, people I respect, Cesar [Carneiro] and [Daniel] Valverde, and say, ‘Oh, he’s super nice in the gym.’ F***, if he wasn’t, brother … talking sh*t to everybody, they have to at least be nice in the gym, right?
“I see they can see money signs in [Covington] and give him attention because 10 percent of $400,000 or $500,000, his last purses, is $40,000 or $50,000, plus the money he probably pays them. It’s annoying to see the support he gets. ‘No, he’s great in the gym.’ He has to, right? He only talks s*** outside.”