Gilbert Burns was on a roll in the last calendar year of his UFC career until he was sidelined with COVID-19. The virus ultimately snatched away Burn’s chances of fighting Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight title. At first, Gilbert was devastated that his title chances slipped away. However, now Burns believes that being sick from the virus was a blessing, or else he would have tried to fight anyway.
Burns was aiming to become champion. His string of victories gave him the momentum to carry him into a title fight against Kamaru Usman. After his dominating performance versus Tyron Woodley, Burns was set to face Usman on July 12 at UFC 251 on Fight Island. Regrettably, In the week leading up to the event, Burns tested positive for Covid-19 and the match was scrapped. After a couple of days of negotiations, Jorge Masvidal was chosen to replace Burns in the main event.
Burns on Being Sick From COVID-19
Speaking with MMA Fighting, Burns opened up about his test and how emotional the experience was having to deal with COVID. As well as coming to the realization that being unable to compete fully was a blessing.
“I was watching that fight and I was almost in tears because when Masvidal was walking out to the fight, it was supposed to be me,” said Burns in regard to Masvidal taking his place. “When I saw him walking, it was supposed to be me.
“I held on because my kids were here but I almost cried watching Masvidal walking in. That was my chance. It was supposed to be me.”
However, not that Burns has beaten the virus, his outlook changed. Instead of lamenting, he’s able to view the past occurrence with clarity.
“I feel better that I didn’t fight,” Burns said. “I know that sounds weird but if I got that virus and for any reason tested negative, I was going into the fight and I wasn’t feeling good. Don’t get me wrong, even if I’m not feeling good, I’m going to fight anyways. I’m not going to pull out, especially for a title fight. I’m going to give my best. I don’t know if my best will be enough but I’ll never pull out of the fight.
“But to take me out and I got home and started getting sick, I definitely see it as a blessing.”
The Return of Gilbert Burns
Now that Burns is free of COVID, he’ll be looking to get his long-awaited matchup against Kamaru. As of now, the matchup is scheduled to take place at UFC 258 on February 13, 2021, at a TBA location.