Gilbert Burns: ‘I already have the respect, but I still want that title very, very bad’

MIAMI – Winning the UFC title is still Gilbert Burns’ ultimate goal.

Burns (22-6 MMA, 15-6 UFC) takes on Jack Della Maddalena (16-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC 299 (pay-per-view, ESPNews, ESPN+) main card at Kaseya Center in Miami.

Burns fell short in his title opportunity against then-welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in February 2021. His willingness to take on anyone, from undefeated Khamzat Chimaev to now-rising contender Della Maddalena, has made Burns a fan favorite – but he wants more.

“I already have the respect that I want, but I still want that title very, very bad,” Burns told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a pre-fight news conference Wednesday. “The ‘BMF’ title would be nice, too.”

In order to get back to the title picture, Burns will have to stop the streak of Della Maddalena, who’s unbeaten in the octagon. Burns rates his skills highly, but will aim to finish him.

“I think he’s very good,” Burns said. “I think he had a little problem with Bassil Hafez – but that was short notice, he changed the opponent, changed the date, small cage. But I think he’s overall super good. He’s very tough – good boxing, good combinations, comes for the finish.

“The way he went for guillotines in that fight, I think he’s confident in his grappling. He can grapple. For sure, he’s got takedown defense, training with Craig Jones and (Alexander) Volkanovski, so I see a very tough challenge. I do believe I’m going to be able to get a finish, to put him in very bad positions, hurt him. But he’s a very tough dude, and I respect that.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 299.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie