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Gilbert Burns deserves title shot after dominating Tyron Woodley at UFC on ESPN 9, but probably won’t get it

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to “Sin City” last night (Sat., May 30, 2020) for the UFC on ESPN 9: “Woodley vs. Burns” mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which took place in the shadow of coronavirus at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Former lightweight Gilbert Burns continued his improbable run at 170 pounds, securing his most important (and most impressive) victory to date, outclassing former division champion Tyron Woodley across all five rounds of action.

Burns (19-3) is now the winner of six straight and will undoubtedly crack the Top 5 when the new rankings are released on Monday. Bur was his domination of “The Chosen One” enough to secure a shot at the 170-pound title, currently held by Kamaru Usman?

Probably not.

“Listen, the next title fight for Usman is going to be one of these guys: it’s gonna be Colby [Covington], [Jorge] Masvidal, [Leon] Edwards,” UFC President Dana White told ESPN on Wednesday. “It’s going to be one of those guys. It’s not gonna be Conor McGregor.”

Three days ahead of UFC on ESPN 9 and White made no mention of Woodley vs. Burns.

“I love the champ, my training partner Kamaru Usman but give me a shot,” Burns said after the fight. “Dana White, Hunter [Campbell], Sean Shelby, Kamaru, I want to fight for the title. A lot of love, a lot of respect for you but I think I’m next. I’m right there. I can fight in July. I want to fight for the title.”

Prior to shutting down Woodley, “Durinho” starched former two-division title contender Demian Maia. Granted, the jiu-jitsu ace is a little long in the tooth, but you can put the resume of Burns up against any of the other top contenders.

Let’s look at the last five fights for each of the aforementioned combatants.

Gilbert Burns (19-3):

Tyron Woodley (W)
Demian Maia (W)
Gunnar Nelson (W)
Alexey Kunchenko (W)
Mike Davis (W)

Colby Covington (15-2):

Kamaru Usman (L)
Robbie Lawler (W)
Rafael dos Anjos (W)
Demian Maia (W)
Dong Hyun Kim (W)

Jorge Masvidal (35-13):

Nate Diaz (W)
Ben Askren (W)
Darren Till (W)
Stephen Thompson (L)
Demian Maia (L)

Leon Edwards (18-3):

Rafael dos Anjos (W)
Gunnar Nelson (W)
Donald Cerrone (W)
Peter Sobotta (W)
Bryan Barberena (W)

Covington may have lost to Usman but it was a close fight with lots of back-and-forth action and the heated rivalry is still there. Masvidal could have already had “The Nigerian Nightmare” fight locked up, but there appears to be some behind-the-scenes fuckery when it comes to contracts.

As for Edwards, he may have the weakest case out of all four contenders simply because his fights are not memorable and his opponents have been good, but not great. Losing his chance to fight Woodley because of coronavirus restrictions may have given the rub to Burns.

And let’s face it, do wins and losses even matter anymore?

I wasn’t sold on Burns coming into the UFC on ESPN 9 main event but he made a believer out of me with his commanding performance. He got a little help from Woodley, who seemed content to just mail it in for the second straight fight.

I don’t think fans would be upset if “Durinho” got the next title shot.

Sadly it’s not up to us and now the UFC matchmakers will have to deal with backstage politics while trying to sort through the top half of the welterweight division. Woodley, meanwhile, will have to figure out how to get his career back on track before it’s too late.

For complete UFC on ESPN 9 results and play-by-play click HERE.

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