Much like in his Octagon debut, Gilbert Burns is back to the welterweight division on short notice.
However, different than when he took a chance to replace an injured Viscardi Andrade against Andreas Stahl in 2014 in order to enter the UFC, ‘Durinho’ accepted a fight with Alexey Kunchenko on short notice at UFC Montevideo because he wants to preserve his health.
A late replacement for the injured Laureano Staropoli, Burns tells Combate that the lightweight division weight cut was becoming too straining for him, to the point of hindering his performance.
“It just clicked,” Burns said. “I was asking for fights and they wouldn’t give me one. Then my coach told me to keep my weight down in case an opportunity appeared. I was training, dieting, but my weight wouldn’t go down. I’ve always been a heavy, strong guy for my division, but it was getting worse and the last time was the worst one. I said: ‘if this doesn’t get better in three weeks, one month, it won’t work.’
“That’s when I talked to my coaches. My wife used to suffer a lot during my dieting process and she asked me to move up and all my coaches agreed. That’s when I decided to make the change. I got to a point where cutting the weight would be impossible, or too much of a sacrifice.”
It was not just his coaches and his wife’s advice that made Burns decide to make the change. though. Gilbert also revealed that his doctor was unhappy and concerned about his health since his last training camp, which made Durinho consider the change even more.
“Last time I made weight, he (the doctor) didn’t like it at first,” Burns said. “He influenced me a lot to make the change, he talked to me a lot. He said it wasn’t healthy anymore and if I wanted to have a long career, I would have to move up. I’m getting heavier, older. I’m not a kid lie before, when it was easier. I have more experience, I’m training with guys well over 155 pounds, guys from welterweight, and that gives me confidence. That was a confirmation. I only train with those guys and when I’d cut weight, it affected my performance because of the straining weight cut.”
Currently on a two-fight winning streak, Gilbert Burns (15-3) defeated Mike Davis and Olivier Aubin-Mercier in his last couple of outings, with his last loss, a knockout defeat to Dan Hooker, dating back to July 2018.
Now, the 33-year-old is expected to take on Alexey Kunchenko at UFC Fight Night 155, in Montevideo, Uruguay, on August 10. The card will be headlined by a women’s flyweight title fight between the champion, Valentina Shevchenko, and former bantamweight title challenger Liz Carmouche.