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When all was said and done, the scorecards — 50-44, 50-44 and 50-45
in favor of Burns — painted an accurate picture of the lopsided
nature of the bout. Burns nearly finished Woodley during a frenzied
opening salvo, and from there, he never allowed the former
welterweight champion to find a rhythm. Woodley spent the majority
of the 25 minutes on his heels hunting for an opening that never
arrived as Burns landed takedowns, controlled positioning and
outstruck his opponent at every turn.
“I think I made a statement, to beat the former champ the way I
beat him, and being the underdog and people saying, ‘Oh if Woodley
shows up,’” Burns said. “And he said he was motivated, he was
violent, he was this and that and I just showed up. This was my
best performance yet … I was very happy with my performance, I
worked super hard for that.
“I was calm, I was relaxed and I was ready to execute everything
that I trained. I just wanted to stay in his face, put pressure,
take him down, hit him hard, punch, kick, mix things up, fake a lot
and that’s exactly what I did.”
UFC president Dana White came away impressed with Burns’ effort
against a man who once had a lengthy reign atop the division.
“He looked incredible, man — anywhere the fight goes,” White said
at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “Standing, if it goes to
the ground, his jiu-jitsu is ridiculous. Great leg kicks. He hurt
him to the legs. Great kicks to the head. That kid can do anything
and he’s aggressive. I actually thought he would fight more
aggressively than he did tonight, but you’ve got to be careful with
someone as dangerous as Woodley.
“He’s in the top 5. The welterweight division looks incredible now.
You’ve got [Kamaru] Usman, you’ve got him, you’ve got Colby
Covington, [Leon] Edwards and [Jorge] Masvidal. It’s
Usman’s next opponent is uncertain. For a while, it seemed as
though Masvidal would be a lock to face the reigning welterweight
champion next. That is no longer the case, and Burns has entered
the conversation in emphatic fashion. At the every least, “Durinho”
says he deserves one of those top contenders for his next Octagon
appearance. Burns has been one of the promotion’s most active
fighters of late, logging five bouts in a little more than a year’s
“I think I just made a statement to the whole division that I’m
next for the title. I’m hungry and I said I can fight in June,
July, book me a fight,” Burns said. “I want to fight for the title.
If not for the title, if they get another person, give me the
number one contender. Colby
Edwards, if they’re not fighting for the title, give me one of
these guys, Masvidal, anyone.
“I just want to be busy. I think the recipe is that, training and
compete, compete, compete — keeping fighting.”