The level of pressure fighters face in big-stakes matchups cannot be understated.
Gilbert Burns will jump into the fire against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273 on April 9th in a title eliminator for the welterweight strap. The anxiety that comes with fighting for the title or being in a number one contender bout is unfathomable from a layman’s perspective.
While there is plenty of hype accrued by Chimaev with his performances and bravado, Burns himself still has to deal with a tremendous amount of pressure on a fight-to-fight basis.
“I hope there’s more pressure on him,” Burns told The AllStar. “But there’s a lot of pressure on me too every single fight. Last fight [against Stephen Thompson], I was coming from a loss. There was a lot of pressure fighting Wonderboy.” Burns scored a victory by decision against Thompson at UFC 264 last July.
“Now Belal [Muhammad] fought Wonderboy. A couple of guys wanna fight Wonderboy. The way I see [it], I gave a big blueprint. Even Belal texted me ‘hey, thanks for the blueprint’. Now everyone wants to fight this guy. But a couple [of] fights before, no one wants to fight that guy. That guy was fighting once a year, twice a year. Now everyone wants to fight this guy.
“[Chimaev] too now, I see a lot of pressure. The guy is number eleven in the world, 10-0. I don’t see it that way but shit, I don’t want to lose to this guy. I don’t want to lose to no one.”
In articulating his thoughts on the mental side of the game, Burns gave a lot of credit to a former opponent.
“There’s always pressure especially whenever Dana White says ‘oh, that fight is a number one contender fight’. I want to kill this guy now more than ever. That’s more pressure. Tomorrow I’m going to have more pressure going to sparring. You want to perform good. Sometimes you’re overthinking. But it’s part of the game. I think that’s what the champion does so good. Like freaking Kamaru Usman does that better than a lot of guys.
“Go there, short-notice change in opponent to Jorge Masvidal. Do what he did, ask for another fight, knock the guy out. Beat Colby, beat Colby again, beat me. I think that guy deals very good with the pressure. I think that’s what the champion does the most. Champions for sure have a lot of skills. They have the mentality, the heart. But I think one of the best things the champion does is to deal with the pressure.
“I’m kind of learning and want to learn every time more to deal with this pressure but I don’t a lot of pressure on this guy I see a lot of pressure on me going into this fight.”
The 35-year-old Brazilian is cognizant of the fact that being under that kind of spotlight can produce a myriad of anxieties and only a rare breed has to endure those factors.
“With the fight, I gotta make sure I show up,” Burns said. “And I show up 100% for this fight mentally, physically, and freaking perform my best. Even sometimes doing that, sometimes you don’t even get the win. It’s a lot of pressure people will never understand.
“For sure a couple of guys that compete on the highest level will have an understanding. But regular people, for sure they don’t have no clue what that pressure means.”
According to oddsmakers, Chimaev is a significant favorite heading into this bout. Being the betting underdog is something that Burns is quite familiarized with at this point.
The former UFC welterweight title challenger has been counted out time and time again. But this has been beneficial in a sense for “Durinho”.
“I love it. A couple of friends, they’re so happy,” Burns revealed. “They make money on me in a couple of fights. To be honest, it doesn’t bother me and I don’t think it makes a difference. Don’t know who makes those odds and I don’t care to be honest. I started betting right now a little bit. I do the BetOnline.Ag and I like to play in the book a little bit. Me and my wife.”
“We play a little bit. Sometimes those odds make no sense. So I don’t mind.”
Gilbert “Durinho” Burns is a 35 year old male fighter from Brazil with 20 pro wins and 4 losses. Burns is scheduled to fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273: Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie on Saturday April 9, 2022.
Gilbert Burns’s recent form coming into this matchup
Gilbert Burns has gone 4-1 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Win vs Stephen Thompson • Decision R3 5:00 • 2021-07-10
- Loss vs Kamaru Usman • KO/TKO R3 0:34 • 2021-02-13
- Win vs Tyron Woodley • Decision R5 5:00 • 2020-05-30
- Win vs Demian Maia • KO/TKO R1 2:34 • 2020-03-14
- Win vs Gunnar Nelson • Decision R3 5:00 • 2019-09-28
Gilbert Burns’s next opponent: Khamzat “Borz” Chimaev
Khamzat “Borz” Chimaev’s recent form coming into this matchup
Khamzat “Borz” Chimaev is a 27 year old male fighter from Sweden with 10 pro wins and 0 losses. Chimaev is scheduled to fight Gilbert Burns at UFC 273: Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie on Saturday April 9, 2022.
Khamzat Chimaev has gone 5-0 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Win vs Jingliang Li • Submission R1 3:16 • 2021-10-30
- Win vs Gerald Meerschaert • KO/TKO R1 0:17 • 2020-09-19
- Win vs Rhys McKee • KO/TKO R1 3:09 • 2020-07-25
- Win vs John Phillips • Submission R2 1:12 • 2020-07-15
- Win vs Mzwandile Hlongwa • Submission R2 1:15 • 2019-10-04
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