Gilbert Burns has one mission in 2023, earn himself a title shot.
2022 did not bode too well for UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns. Following a title shot loss at the beginning of 2021, Burns redeemed himself later that year with a win and put himself in a solid place in the division. In 2022, he only had one fight, a devastating loss to Khamzat Chimaev in April. Since that loss, he has been in limbo, and nothing was on the horizon although he was making calls outs. Now Burns is heading into his first bout of the New Year and plans to secure himself back in title contention in the next twelve months.
Burns will be taking on Neil Magny in Brazil at UFC 283 on Jan. 21. Burns had been calling for bouts with several different fighters over the last few months, but Magny was not on his list. However, with his most recent win over Daniel Rodriguez, Magny offered to stand in against Burns in his home country and the fight was accepted.
Gilbert Burns has a plan to ensure himself a title shot by the end of the year
Burns is currently ranked fifth in the stacked welterweight division. The champion, Leon Edwards is said to have his next shot against Kamaru Usman, although it is not official quite yet. The rest of the top five all want a title shot as well, so Burns has a plan to set him apart.
“I want to get three finishes at least, I want to make a statement in this fight, like you said Neil Magny is very tough all due respect to the guy especially fighting me in Brazil I know a lot of people don’t want to fight me, especially in Rio. The guy has balls, you know, I gotta respect him a little bit,” he said on the Believe You Me Podcast. “But a perfect year will be three finishes and earn the title shot. I don’t want to beg for it or ask anyone a favor I want to earn that.”
Since making the move to the welterweight division back in 2019, Burns has proven that he is one of the best at that weight. He has defeated some of the best and wants the chance to become the top fighter and hold that UFC title. He believes a win over Magny in front of his home crowd is the first step.
“A devastating finish against Neil Magny it will get me a step closer to that and maybe two or three more I don’t care if it’s three more, two more, I don’t care. I just want to get those finishes and earn the title shot,” he said. “That will be a great year for me, getting the title shot at the end of the year, or earning a title shot and getting the title shot beginning next year. So that’s the goal.”
Magny is currently ranked number 12 in the division so a win might not move Burns up the rankings but with a finish, he will draw the eyes of his fellow fighters and could find himself up against a top-ranked opponent next.