“He’s Gilbert Burns’ little brother. That’s it. That’s why he’s here.”
Nate Landwehr doesn’t seem to recognize the work Herbert Burns has put on in over seven years as a MMA fighter to earn a shot in the UFC, but the Brazilian featherweight chooses to ignore the verbal attacks from his opponent ahead of Saturday night’s bout at UFC Raleigh.
“Nothing he said bothered me, really,” Burns told MMA Fighting. “I heard that he’s referring to me as Gilbert’s brother, that the only reason why I’m in the UFC is because my brother was popular, that I’m not UFC level. He only talks, but that doesn’t bother me. If that’s his way to sell a fight, cool. Some people try to act like a bad boy. That’s not my style, I don’t appreciate that. It will only be the two of us in the cage.”
At the end of the day, Burns agrees that having his brother in the UFC roster did help him get notoriety among fans and media, but his work in rings and cages was what ultimately got him a deal with the company.
“Having a brother but having no talent means nothing,” Burns said. “You can be Pelé’s son but not play sh*t, you won’t have space in a high level club. My brother helped, but the work I’ve done my entire career brought me to the UFC.”
“The Blaze” made the transition from jiu-jitsu to MMA just four weeks after his brother made his debut in 2012 and quickly built a 6-0 record after joining ONE Championship in Asia.
He parted ways with the promotion after a couple of losses and contract issues before winning three in a row in the United States to earn a shot in the UFC. Landwehr, on the other hand, makes his Octagon debut after winning and defending the M-1 featherweight belt.
Burns believes they both are “hyped up” going into UFC Raleigh, and the winner will be pushed by the company as the next big thing in the 145-pound division.
“My entire career got me prepared for this moment,” Burns said. “I’ve had highs and lows, wins and losses — two decisions against tough opponents outside my weight class —, and now I’m on this winning streak. I’m ready.”
UFC president Dana White was in attendance to shoot his show “Looking For a Fight” when Burns fought and beat Luis Gomez at Titan FC 54, and the Niteroi native was offered a chance at the Contender Series. With White sitting cageside one more time, Burns made short work of Darrick Minner in Las Vegas.
“Fighting at the Contender Series was an unique experience,” Burns said. “There’s this whole pressure over you that winning isn’t enough. You can’t hurt your opponent, you have to kill him, and I managed to kill him in the first round. I have another war now, another style, and my plan is to go there and finish the fight.
“I might feel a different adrenaline in the UFC cage this time, but I don’t think it will be that different. I remain cool the whole time. Vitor (Belfort), Gilbert and my teammates got me ready for this fight, so I’ll get the job done.”
Landwehr expects Burns to shoot for a takedown early on and try to grapple in Raleigh, and that’s exactly how the Brazilian featherweight envisions the fight coming to an end.
“I think I’ll catch him with a submission,” Burns said. “My strategy is to take him down. I think I’m technically better than him in all areas. He’s a brawler who moves forward trusting in his chin and his cardio, but he has no ground game. My strategy is to take him down and submit. I can make this a short night and get another fight pretty soon.”