Gilbert Burns will be the first to admit he was very disappointed after being pulled from his fight against Olivier Aubin-Mercier in February. “Durinho” was deemed too heavy to make a weight cut by the commission and he was forced to withdraw from his matchup against Mercier at UFC on FOX 26.
However the stars aligned and the pair were rebooked for UFC 231 on Dec. 8, with both Mercier and Burns coming off losses heading into the rescheduled bout. Burns is coming off the first knockout loss of his career to Dan Hooker at UFC 226 in July. The 32-year old isn’t making any excuses about the setback and believes it was a great learning experience.
“I don’t believe I just got caught.” Burns explained. “I was very confident for that fight. I had the strategy was to take him down. His background is in kickboxing. Right before I got caught. When I connected on my overhand right and he felt the punch a little bit. And I just throw a little quick one but heavy. But when I did that I exposed myself. I watched the tape like over 100 times, he just did a quick right hand. He didn’t put a lot of power, but I did, I put in a lot of my weight. I punch his head with my face to be honest. I learned about me, my emotions, and my ego. I learned so much [from that fight].”
Burns (13-3) will look to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in his career when he faces Mercier in his home country of Canada. Having already prepared for the Tristar product earlier this year, Burns feels like he has an advantage heading to the fight. The 32-year-old revealed that he consistently keeps daily notes from his training camp which he has referred to in preparation for this fight.
“What makes me more aware of the [fight], I do a lot of daily notes from that camp. I think the fight was cancelled on the Tuesday night. During the camp I have all my notes, all my sparring’s. I’m making all the changes possible. Each camp I’ve been getting smarter [from my preparation] I have all my notes [including] how I felt that day, how was the training etc. Having that is an extra thing that will help me in my preparation.”
Aubin-Mercier (11-3) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Alex Hernandez at UFC on FOX 30 which snapped his four-fight win streak. The 29-year-old has never suffered two-straight losses and aims to finish the year off with a 2-1 record. Aubin-Mercier has never been finished in his 14-fight career and that’s a challenge Burns is willing to embrace.
“I don’t like boring fights. I don’t care if he’s never been finished, I’m looking for the finish. I’m going to put pressure on him. I want to be the first guy to finish him.”
UFC 231 takes place December 8th at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The card is headlined by Max Holloway defending his featherweight title against Brian Ortega.