#UFC250 Interview @herbertburnsmma: Family Business #mmaTweet
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Opening up UFC 250, Herbert Burns makes his second trip into the octagon. His first fight at UFC Raleigh went as good as a debut can go. Now, he takes on the veteran, Evan Dunham in a catchweight bout at 150 pounds.
Herbert Burns and the Family Business
Herbert is the brother of Gilbert Burns, you know, Gilbert who just dominated former champion Tyron Woodley at UFC Vegas last week. Many fans were surprised by Gilbert’s performance against Woodley, but not Herbert.
“Gilbert is awesome. It was a great performance. I was expected something like that. He was super ready, physically ready, mentally ready, and technically ready. He put on a show against a former champion. He outclassed him, first round 10-8, all the other rounds 10-9. Better on the feet, better on the wrestling, better on the ground. He put himself as a real contender in the division.”
Now Gilbert Burns is a number one contender. He is right in line for a title shot in the stacked welterweight division. Having that tool for Herbert Burns is a great opportunity and he is grateful to have such a tool to help him. He will note that they don’t get to train together as much as they would like.
“He does help me a lot. We don’t train as much as we would like because he is bigger than me. He’s not going to be my main training partner and I’m not going to be his main training partner. But in Jiu Jitsu, we do help each other a lot. I help him with technique. I break down his fight and strategy. He helps me on how to train and how to keep pushing myself and continue self improvement. He’s a great mentor.”
As for fighting on the same card with his brother, Herbert will forgo the opportunity to fight on the same card when Gilbert fights for the title.
“I want to be in the corner and help prepare him for the biggest fight of his life. Soon, it’s going to happen, but I want all the attention to go to him in his title fight. He needs all the attention to himself. Hopefully soon we fight on the same card.”
When asked who choked who out more in Jiu Jitsu, Burns said laughingly, “It depends on the day. We choke each other. We always get the best of each other.”
Preparing for Evan Dunham
As mentioned earlier, Herbert Burns is fighting Evan Dunham at 150. Dunham is a natural 155er and Burns fights a class below at 145. When the matchup was offered to him, it wasn’t someone Burns expected to cross paths with but he, much like his brother, doesn’t turn down a fight. His training hasn’t taken a hit with the unique matchup for the most part.
“I just kept training to get ready. There’s nothing new. I didn’t stop or didn’t get hurt in my last fight. I took a little time off. I helped Gilbert in his fight against Demian in Brazil. We enjoyed life a little bit. But I didn’t stop training completely. We went back to training, we wanted a fight. I wanted to fight on the 9th, and then they pushed it to the 16th, then the 23rd. Then I was hopeful that I was going to fight on the 30th, same day as Gilbert. But, I couldn’t get an opponent. Finally Ali made some magic, he’s a great manager. Managed to put me into the card after they announced the card.”
His brother Gilbert will be in his corner according to Herbert Burns. He plans to have his best mentor there to make sure the fight stays in line for Herbert and to keep him on his game plan. “That is the plan. Gilbert should come back today and leave Tuesday.”
The only real snag with Herbert Burns’ training camp was lack of training partners. But that’s not because of the virus but because of the lack of training partners. Dunham is a southpaw and Burns’ main southpaw training partner, Michael Johnson, just fought and isn’t available.
“The only thing I’m changing a little bit, we don’t have many southpaw trainers. Michael Johnson fought Thiago Moises earlier this month, so we lost our main southpaw training partner. So I that’s the only thing, I have to force my partners to fight southpaw, that’s the only difference. But he was a guy that wasn’t on my radar, really. He was retired and then he was scheduled to fight Michael Johnson. But he is a lightweight. I had a few names in mind but I never expected Evan Dunnam. He’s a veteran and I watched a lot of his fights. I’m very good friends with Rafael dos Anjos. So when they fought back in the day, I watched the fight closely. I know his style. I think it’s a good fight.”
Burns was not immune to COVID-19 hurdles in this training camp, however. While it was not so dramatic for Burns, he did have a few things that made this fight a little more difficult to train for.
“It impacted us a little bit. But when they started scheduling fights, we had to go back and train. We started training in a small group, ten people maximum. We kept training and kept training, and everyone did really well. The training didn’t completely stop. We still trained conditioning and did some boxing pad work. Sometimes the team gets together and train. Gilbert has a garage gym so even when they didn’t have training, I would go to his house and train there.”
In the UFC 249 Aftermath episode, I floated the idea of Herbert Burns and Bryce Mitchell fighting. Burns said he likes that fight but thinks the UFC’s timeframe will not line up immediately for that fight.
“That’s a fun fight. We will probably cross paths very soon. He is very young. I think the UFC is going to build him up slow. He is a guy that talks well, represents a lot of people from Arkansas. I think the UFC is going to build him up slow. I want faster than that, of course.”
UFC 250 will have no audience once again. For Burns, it’s nothing new. Coming from the Contender Series, Herbert Burns is used to both no crowd and the small cage at the Apex.
“It will be like Contender Series. I fought in that small cage against Darrick Minner and was victorious on the night. Contender Series still has some people there like family and friends. But this time it will be completely empty. I’ve saw Gilbert against Demian Maia like that. It didn’t have as much energy and flat. Not completely flat, but a little flat. It is what you have to deal with now. You have to adapt and keep going. A lot of people criticize the fighters and the UFC to do the shows. But, we’re not forced to fight. If you don’t feel comfortable, just don’t fight. I think it gives hope to people that things are going to go back to normal very soon.”
Predicting UFC 250
UFC 250 is headlined by Amanda Nunes and Felicia Spencer. Nunes is set to defend her featherweight title against Spencer and we had Herbert Burns weigh in on the main event.
“I think Amanda is better than Felicia everywhere. I think Amanda is stronger, more physical, better striking, better Jiu Jitsu. I think Amanda is just better and she is going to keep the title. I think she can finish the fight in the second or third round, she will finish. Amanda all the way.”
Burns UFC journey is still very young. He is sure to make a rapid rise to the top of the featherweight division. Be sure to follow Herbert Burns on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to follow his journey through the UFC elite.