Brazilian featherweight Herbert Burns talks about his return, staying sharp, and his climb back up the rankings.
Returning to the cage for the first time in almost a year and a half, Brazil’s Herbert Burns is glad to be back to fighting.
The undefeated featherweight aims to pick up where he left off after dispatching fellow contender Timofey Nastyukhin in September of 2015. Now back in the harness, Burns looks to make it seven consecutive wins under his name in Malaysia this weekend.
“I really happy to get back into action,” Burns tells Dojo Drifter. “Really excited to go back and do what I do best and I love to do, which is fighting. It’s been a while since I fought but in my time off, I didn’t stop training. Every second improving. Looking forward to the opportunity to go there and do my best.”
During his time off, Burns found ways to stay busy. The decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belter equipped himself with more weapons to his arsenal. He immersed himself in different striking techniques in places like Thailand and in the US, with his brother Gilbert and with Henri Hooft of the Blackzilians, to improve on his striking before heading back to his hometown in Niteroi to finish up fight camp.
At the same time, he’s also been active in the other aspects of fighting. An avid fan of the sport, the 29-year-old put his MMA knowledge to good use, working for Brazil’s Esporte Interativo as their resident analyst. To him, it has served as a way to stay sharp mentally ahead of his upcoming fight.
“It’s good,” Burns says of his latest gig, which has been well received by his countrymen. “I love to watch fights and analyze fights. But now when you do it professionally, you have to do your research about the fighters before going there. I think that’s a lot to do which I try to do. (But) I go there for the Brazilian fans. They appreciate my commentary because I’m one of the few guys that fights and they see that I know what I’m talking about and I appreciate that.”
“And now, I’m also doing submission breakdowns to show the people who are unfamiliar of a certain technique and how to set it up. I really like what I’m doing. I like to do that and I learn that you need to analyse everything. Not only the BJJ but fighting as a whole and I’m doing that and I’m improving a lot.”
Burns knows that his fight against promotion newcomer Molvid Khaibulaev won’t be a walk in the park. A teammate of Bellator champ Vitaly Minakov and UFC contender Ali Bagautinov, the 25-year-old Khaibulaev has an impressive resume of 11-0, six of which have ended via stoppage. “The Blaze” is ready for whatever the Russian will bring to the cage and will be looking for the finish. But unlike his past bouts where his submission skills have ended the fights, he now aims for his first career knockout win.
“My opponent Khaibulaev, he’s a well-rounded fighter. He has TKO (wins), he has decisions and few submissions but I know he’s working on his ground game too. He’s a complete fighter and I know he’ll be ready for everything. Wherever the fight goes, basically I’ll be prepared.” Herbert said of his upcoming opponent, “The guy has a lot of firepower in his hands and feet but I’m gonna go there and put a hell of a fight. If the KO came, I’ll be very happy to have it.”
“I feel like my striking was there but BJJ is my main weapon. It will always be. But I took my time to improve my striking, like I said, in Thailand and with Henri Hooft and back in Brazil with Emerson Falcao so I’m looking for this fight looking for that knockout and make him proud. We worked a lot and he’s a great coach. He keeps sharpening my striking everyday and even with his injury, he still working with me. And I going to this fight looking for the knockout.”
As for a potential title shot, Burns is not thinking of it at the moment. Instead, he’s focused on winning this weekend and he’ll let things run their course.
“I’m just happy to be back fighting,” he adds. “I’m thinking one moment at a time, get one more win and see what happens. I think I have put great wins and the people know it. They message me why I’m not getting a title shot yet but you know, I’m not the matchmaker or the president of the organization. I’m here to do my job which is to win.”
“So I’ll just go there and put a great show get another win and just work on the things that I can control and improve myself every single fight.”
Herbert Burns wants his title shot, with or without Gafurov in the picture
Evolve Fighters Burns, Butler, and Lee notch victories in Jakarta
Herbert Burns surprised at recent title snub; wants Marat Gafurov next