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Does Gilbert Burns Deserve the Winner of Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington?

Gilbert Burns
 (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Does Gilbert Burns Deserve the Winner of Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington ?

After a convincing win against Jorge Masvidal, Gilbert “Durinho” Burns is poised to fight for the welterweight title in his next fight.

UFC 287 in Miami contained drama and excitement from beginning to end. The highlight of the night was obviously Israel Adesanya’s vicious knockout of Alex Pereira. Masvidal also retired from the UFC following his unanimous decision loss in the co-main event, which came against Burns.

Burns has been a consistent presence in the welterweight division for a considerable amount of time now. Since losing to former champion Kamaru Usman in 2021, Burns has now won three out of his last four fights, defeating legitimate fighters like Stephen Thompson, Neil Magny and now Masvidal. His only loss occurred in an absolute battle with Khamzat Chimaev, which did not lower his stock at all.

On paper, Burns is the most deserving fighter in the welterweight division to challenge for the title after Colby Covington. In his UFC 287 post-fight interview, Burns stated emphatically that he wants to play the role of the backup fighter for the future Edwards vs. Covington fight.

Colby and Leon, in London if I’m not mistaken, is almost a done deal,” Burns said. “I’m going to be a backup, I’m going to.”

I’m not asking, I’m demanding that I’m going to,” he added.

Burns doubled down on his statements by implying that he would request a release if not granted the opportunity.

Anytime the UFC give me a call asking for opponent, I say yes,” Burns said. “I’m next in line to fight for the title. Otherwise, let me go my guy, let me go do my thing.”

Given that Burns turns 37 in July, it is clear he understands his window to be champion is fast closing.

Burns Presents Problems for Covington and Edwards Stylistically

A location and date for the matchup between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington should be announced by the UFC shortly. After fighting and defending against a wrestler like Usman for almost 10 rounds, Covington will be more of the same. Primarily a striker, Edwards prefers to manage distance and keep the fight standing. He will likely attempt to implement a similar game plan to the one in his last fight with Usman against Covington.

The danger that Burns presents as the potential challenger to the winner of that fight is that he excels on the ground and feet. Burns is a third degree Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, but also possess one punch knockout power. He demonstrated his ability to brawl when necessary against Khamzat Chimaev. But also showed composure and discipline in his decision victory over Jorge Masvidal last night.

Regardless of who wins between Edwards and Covington, Gilbert Burns presents a challenge for either fighter stylistically.

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