Gilbert Burns said he had a lot of respect and admiration for UFC Fight Night 170 opponent Demian Maia. In the fight game, respect doesn’t stop you from brutally knocking a man out, though. And that’s exactly what Burns did to Maia, dropping the UFC legend with a big left hook before finishing him off with punches on the ground for a first round TKO.
In front of an empty arena in Brasilia, Brazil as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, Burns (18-3) had to survive the dangerous ground game of Maia (28-10) multiple times after being taken to the canvas. As Maia took Burns’ back and attempted to transition to full mount, Burns slipped out and rose back to his feet. Moments later, a sweeping left hook from Burns put Maia on his back. Burns posed with his hands raised, but the referee did not stop the fight, forcing Burns to jump on top and drop a flurry of punches to bring the fight to a close.
Burns paid his respect to Maia after the win, even attempting to play matchmaker for his fellow Brazilian.
“I’ve been following this guy through his whole career,” Burns said after his win. “I have a tremendous admiration and respect, he’s a future Hall of Famer. I hope Demian gets a big fight. Anderson Silva next, I hope they give him that rematch.”
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Burns extended his winning streak to five fights with the win, making a strong case for being placed in the top 10 at 170 pounds. With that status, he is calling out some big game in the welterweight division.
“I call next,” Burns said. “Colby Covington. You gonna see me. You’re gonna see me. I’m going to … beat you up. You’re lucky we’re on ESPN.”