Gilbert Burns is still confident he will be a UFC champion by the time his career is over.
The Brazilian had his first crack at gold back in February at UFC 258 where he suffered a third-round TKO loss to Kamaru Usman.
Despite the loss, he’s still the second-ranked welterweight and will face Stephen Thompson in the co-main event of UFC 264. If he wins that, he knows there is a path back to a title shot.
“I talked to my manager, I talked to the coaches and the dream is still there, it’s still alive,” Burns said at media day. “I want to be champion, that’s still the goal. We saw how many fights I have to get a title shot, but that is a question that no one can answer.
“Nowadays it’s all about performance. We see a couple of guys with 10-fight winning streaks, seven-fight winning streaks do not get title shots,” Burns continued. “Why? Because in the performance that’s where you make the case. I want to win the title shot again, that’s my main goal.
“I asked for the top guys in the division. No. 1 said no, No. 3 said no, and they offered me ‘Wonderboy’ and I said yes right away. That’s the fight to make. Stylistically we match up well, me and ‘Wonderboy are on the same path. He fought for the title, we both got a little taste of that title, and we both want to be champions. It’s a great fight,” Burns concluded.
Although Burns will not get a title shot with a win on Saturday, if he beats Thompson it could be the start of a streak. It would arguably be the biggest win of his career and if he could beat someone else in the top-five perhaps the rematch makes sense. Especially due to the fact that Burns had rocked Usman in the fight so the storyline is there.
Regardless, in order to get back to a title shot, Burns will need to beat Thompson on Saturday night.