Gilbert Burns has heard the criticism of fighters like Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz regarding the reason why he's next in line to challenge for the UFC welterweight title. He doesn't care.
The red-hot Burns (19-3) will bring a six-fight win streak into the main event of UFC 251 on July 11 in Abu Dhabi in his first title shot against teammate Kamaru Usman (16-1) after Masvidal declined several offers for the fight while speaking out against UFC fighter pay.
Masvidal (35-13) went as far as echoing recent tweets from Diaz by suggesting on Wednesday, during an interview on his official YouTube channel, that the 33-year-old Burns only received the fight because he was willing to accept a small payday for the opportunity.
"I don't care if those guys are mad or happy. Masvidal, Diaz, if you're mad, I can't do nothing for you guys."— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 25, 2020
Gilbert Burns doesn't hold back on Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz to our own @SugaRashadEvans.@GilbertDurinho fights for the belt on July 11 at #UFC251 👊 pic.twitter.com/spBSfY0GnQ
"First of all, I don't care if those guys are mad or happy. It's none of my business at all," Burns told CBS Sports HQ analyst Rashad Evans on Wednesday. "I don't care, Masvidal. If you are mad, I can do nothing for you guys. I'm from Brazil and when an opportunity opens up, you can't be like [sighs].
"Do I want more money? For sure, I want more money but when the opportunity shows up, I take it."
Burns sat down with Evans, a former UFC light heavyweight champion and his teammate at Sanford MMA (part of coach and trainer Henri Hooft's Hard Knocks 365 team) to talk about the title fight and Usman's decision to move his camp to Colorado with trainer Trevor Wittman. Yet the recent chatter from his division rivals was fresh on his mind.
"They offered me considerably less money than what I should be getting, and it didn't work" Masvidal said. "Then they offer [Burns] the least amount of money that they would take. That's what they did. They offered me, then when I said no, they offered a couple of other people until they got to Gilbert. Gilbert wasn't their first thing. Nobody on a worldwide scale knows him. I'm not dissing his skillset, but he's not a known guy, so of course he took the lowest money possible to fight a title."
Burns also endured public ridicule from Diaz, who claimed "this isn't a title fight" when Usman-Burns was first announced.
This is what’s wrong with people claiming they’re fighters settling for less cause they know they’re not worth shit you should’ve fought the next guy in line not the guy who would take less cause he’s told too that’s why no one will remember youguys— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) June 9, 2020
This isn’t a title fight pic.twitter.com/7GLJUJA45C
"I think a lot of things you have to earn," Burns said. "Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal are talking. But they have so many losses that there's something wrong. These guys are saying like, 'Oh, I'm 20 years in that business.' Yeah, but you never won a title. I'm eight years and I'm fighting for a title now. Kamaru is nine years and is a champion. They are doing something wrong.
"Diaz just makes money because of Conor [McGregor]. Without Conor, that guy wouldn't make that much money but I don't care what these guys say."
Burns is 4-0 since moving up to welterweight last August and is fresh off a knockout of Demian Maia and a dominant decision win over former champion Tyron Woodley.