‘Blazing’ a Path to UFC Debut

Jan 22, 2020

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For Herbert Burns, punching his ticket to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, in which he will debut at UFC Fight Night 166 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, was no easy task. Before he could step foot inside the famed Octagon, the Brazilian had to prove himself in front of UFC President Dana White not once, but twice.

In April, Titan FC 54 played host to an episode of the popular series Dana White Lookin’ for a Fight. As a participant on the card, Burns, 31, knew an impressive showing could earn him a UFC contract. After submitting former Titan Fighting Championships featherweight champion Luis Gomez in less than three minutes, he figured he had a roster spot in the bag. Unfortunately, “The Blaze” received a different offer from White: To compete on Week 7 of Dana White’s Contender Series. Four months later, Burns aced that test, too, securing another submission win—this time over Darrick Minner—in less than three minutes. Yet, despite a second straight submission victory, the One Championship veteran was not completely sure if he had finally done enough to lock up that much coveted prize.

“I got the finish, and I was talking to my team at the Contender Series [and I said], ‘Hey, you think that’s enough,” Burns told Sherdog with a laugh. “And they said, ‘Shut up man. You’ve got to be in now.’ [Burns asked] ‘Are you sure? How were the other fights?’ And they are like, ‘You’re good man. Relax.’ Then [Dana White] did it, and it was a relief.”

Along with talking about his road to a UFC contract, Burns spoke on his matchup Saturday with fellow newcomer Nate Landwehr, his fallout with One Championship in 2017 and if he has plans to follow the successful blueprint of his brother, UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns, on social media. He also discussed the unique origin of his nickname, “The Blaze.”

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