Gilbert Burns isn’t necessarily holding any grudges after UFC 287, but he’s confident he’d have another finish on his record — if he could’ve held onto Jorge Masvidal.
In a unanimous decision victory, Burns largely got the better of Masvidal both on the feet and on the ground over the course of three rounds. Well-known for his world-class grappling skills, Burns believed he could have wrapped up a submission, but ultimately he could only maintain control to keep Masvidal underneath him.
“I was really looking forward for a finish, but I think it was a good fight,” Burns said at the UFC 287 post-fight press conference. “I try to put on a show every single time. I was really, really looking forward to a finish. I hit him with good shots, took him down a couple of times. If I’m not wrong, I had three takedown attempts, and I finished all three. A lot of wrestlers didn’t do that. A lot of guys, high-level wrestlers that he fought, had trouble taking him down, and I didn’t.
“I think I showed a lot of improvement, and that guy was freaking slippery. That’s an old dog, Miami trick with the lotion, because he was so slippery. Wow.”
Fighters are routinely checked over by a ringside referee before setting foot in the cage to ensure they have no extra substances on their body. Officials also check for things like a mouth guard and an athletic cup.
Masvidal may not have been lubed up with anything when he walked to the cage, but Burns believes that’s because his opponent used a trick that would’ve made him slippery only after they both started sweating.
“One-hundred percent, I do believe [he was greasing],” Burns said. “I know those old tricks those guys do. You know what they do? They wake up on [Saturday] and they take the first shower and they put a lot of lotion on the body.
“The skin absorbs the lotion, and then after three hours, you do it again, and then after, you do it again, and then after, you do it again, and your body absorbs. Whenever you start sweating a lot [the lotion comes out]. For sure he did that, 100 percent he did. I’m telling you.
“I’m not telling you maybe — 100 percent. He was so slippery. Whenever you guys are watching the highlights, you’re going to see his skin’s bright. That guy, I’ve got to give it up to this guy. He does all the tricks.”
Burns still felt he should’ve put Masvidal away, especially with some of the positions he earned on the ground after scoring multiple takedowns.
“One-hundred percent [I should have finished him],” he said. “I didn’t feel him strong at all. I saw a lot of little details that he did, he has a couple of good answers to get up, but remember, I’m not going to say names, but he fought a couple high-level wrestlers, he lost those. I had three takedown attempts, I finished all three.
“Whenever I get on top, he didn’t get up. I think he got up one time, but that’s it. I dominated the guy on the floor. If I had less lotion, if I had a little bit less lotion, I think I could get it done.”
Once the fight was over, the welterweights veered in two completely different directions, with Burns calling for a title shot and Masvidal announcing his retirement from MMA.
Burns was already cemented near the top of the 170-pound rankings prior to Saturday. But now he’s anxious to get another shot at UFC gold, and he won’t take no for an answer.
“I almost say it’s a done deal, Colby [Covington] and Leon [Edwards] in London. If I’m not wrong, it’s almost a done deal — just the little details,” Burns said. “I’m going to be the backup. I’m not asking. I’m demanding that I’m going to [be the backup], because whenever they ask, any time the UFC gives me a call asking for an opponent, I say yes. Now I’m demanding that I’m going out there, I’m going to do my training camp for five rounds, go to London, I’ll be the backup, and I’m next in line to fight for the title.
“Otherwise, let me go. Let me do my thing. These guys are making a million dollars in other organizations. That’s it. I’m the backup for the next fight, and I’m fighting for the title next.”