Gilbert “Durinho” Burns sat in front of the television on July 11 at his home in Southern Florida watching attentively with a notepad in hand while Kamaru Usman successfully defended his welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal in the headliner of UFC 251 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Being that the Brazilian was supposed to be in that position, it wasn’t easy. “Watching the fight was hard because I was imagining me fighting,” Burns told SCMP MMA. A week earlier, the 34-year-old tested positive for coronavirus and was immediately pulled from the main event against his Sanford MMA teammate, his dreams shattered in the process. The only option was to observe and study his future opponent in isolation. “I took a lot of notes, like a lot of things I can do,” Burns said. “With me, I think [Usman] will do a different game plan. Like what he did with Masvidal, he took Masvidal down a couple of times. Masvidal is very slick and did a good job from the bottom, he stayed active. And we could realise that Kamaru got a little bit tired from that. He was doing deep breaths during the breaks because of that. “I don’t want to be cocky saying that, but I know a couple of things as a grappling aspect I can do a lot better than Masvidal, and maybe put Kamaru in a lot of trouble even in the clinch.” There was a tremendous amount of hype surrounding Masvidal (35-14) on Fight Island, and it still lingers with many screaming for an immediate rematch because “Gamebred” took the fight on six days’ notice. But Burns (19-3) feels he is a much more competitive match-up for Usman (17-1) – with evidence to prove it. “I have a couple sparring sessions that me and Kamaru did. I have a couple of videos. If I put those videos on [social media], I know the views are going to go crazy because we go hard,” he said. “It’s five-minute rounds, but it’s five minutes of action. If we do 50 per cent of what we did in training, it will be amazing, it will be a crazy fight. It will get fight of the night, for sure, a fight of the year candidate.” “I just think it will be a very entertaining fight,” Burns added. “The guy is a beast. I have tremendous respect, especially for his [work] ethic, the guy works super hard. People have all that hype around Masvidal but I guarantee my fight against Kamaru will be a great fight.” With UFC president Dana White clearly expressing Burns will get the next title shot, the only conditions to iron out are the date and location. “What I heard is November, December, we fighting for sure. He [Usman] needs some time off, I need it as well,” Burns said. “It makes sense to rest and get better. Start evolving like crazy, get a lot better. Put a lot of time into the different aspects of my game. Then, go to a training camp for November or December.” Nothing is set in stone with Usman nursing an injured nose, but one thing is for certain – Burns is ready to become a world champion. “I’m super confident I will beat Kamaru Usman,” he said.