Ahead of his February welterweight title challenge at UFC 248, streaking Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu standout, Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns has had some complimentary words for UFC 257 headliner, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor — praising the grappling prowess of the Straight Blast Gym striker.

Burns hopes to finally stand opposite reigning division leader, Kamaru ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman in his first attempted title challenge under the UFC’s banner, following a pair of failed matchups with the champion in December and July last, respectively.

Since his return to welterweight back in August of 2019, Sanford MMA mainstay, Burns has won four on the trot, extending his overall undefeated to run to six-fights. The Brazilian headlined his first UFC event in May at UFC Vegas where he took home a dominant unanimous decision win and the division’s number-one contender status against former champion, Tyron ‘The Chosen One’ Woodley. The victory followed a March knockout win over compatriot, Demian Maia in Brasilia. 

Slated for a February matchup with Usman, a month following McGregor’s set comeback against former opponent and interim lightweight titleholder, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier, Burns touched on the former’s grappling ability, claiming the Dubliner is “very underrated in that aspect of his overall skillset — pointing to McGregor’s opening-round sweep over two-time foe, Nate Diaz during their UFC 196 matchup in 2016 as a clear sign of his overlooked ability.

He’s (Conor McGregor) good,” Burns said. “People think he’s very bad, but he’s very good. People don’t remember he swept Nate Diaz in their first fight. I think he’s very underrated. People say, ‘All you have to do is take him down.’ First of all, when the guy controls the distance like Conor (McGregor), it’s not easy to take the guy down.

Another thing that people don’t realise is those guys that kick a lot, they develop a lot power in their hips. So those hips are very flexible and very strong. It’s that type of flexibility and strength that is the same one that you use to defend the takedowns. The point is, Conor’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not bad. People underestimate that, but he is a good grappler the way I see. For sure, he’s not a grappler. It’s not a natural thing. It’s not his natural thing, but for sure he’s put a lot of focus on that.” (H/T Middleeasy)

Burns, under Rafael Barros, is a second-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, scoring eight of his fourteen career finishes via submission. An ADCC bronze medalist back in 2015 in his native Brazil, Burns has scored a whopping four world championship wins in both World and World No-Gi competition. 

For McGregor, the 32-year-old was promoted to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt following his 2014 knockout victory over the above mentioned, Poirier by longtime head coach, John Kavanagh, who is the first Irish Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, under trainer, Matt Thornton. 

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