Gilbert Burns may have received his win bonus following his epic clash with Khamzat Chimaev as this past weekend's UFC 273, but "Durinho" wants to make it known that's absolutely not the same as actually getting a win.
"I'm very critical of myself," Burns told MMA Underground. "I think if I had done a little bit more stuff such as calf kicks, body kicks when he switched stance, calf kicks when he was orthodox, freaking head movement that I trained so much and didn't do as planned – I think I could gave got the win.
"I was the one that threw more shots in the last round, but I got hurt in the last round. I got hurt for a moment. I remember I was very wobbly, and then he gave me another shot that kind of rolled me up, and then I got back and I was throwing a lot of bombs, but I liked it, like every time I've been in there. For sure, I hate to lose. I think I've made that clear couple times. But yeah, I like to be in there."
Despite residing at the top of the UFC's official welterweight rankings, Burns (20-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) was one of the few athletes who was willing to face the undefeated upstart Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) and was a massive underdog in the contest, according to the oddsmakers. But Burns proved he was up to the task, clipping Chimaev in the second round and pushing the highly touted prospect until the final bell, only to lose a unanimous decision. Still, UFC president Dana White was so excited with the contest, he not only awarded the bout the evening's $50,000 "Fight of the Night" bonus but also gave Burns his contracted win bonus, as well.
Burns said the added income does help offset the frustration, but it doesn't completely replace the feeling of victory.
"I think the fight was super close; it could go either way," Burns said. "I hate to say, 'Oh, I think I won.' I think the judges have got to decide it. I'm not a judge, but I think it was very close.
"We put on a show, I took a risk, but I'm happy. I got the win bonus. We got the 'Fight of the Night.' I'm happy – you know, not not as happy as if I'd have got a win, but I'm happy."
After showing respect for each other in the cage on fight night, Burns and Chimaev have been enjoying a bit of online banter in the days since, posting photos and graphics to remind each other of their own best moments in the clash. One such meme making the rounds points out that Chimaev was hit just once in his first four UFC victories combined but was forced to survive 119 shots from Burns during their 15 minutes in the cage.
Burns said the back-and-forth is friendly in nature but does believe the two will meet again later in their careers.
"For sure," Burns said. "For sure it's going to happen again. We're not done. I'm not done with him. ... That was a good dance partner that I had, and I think we could go a little deeper than we did.
"It's still on my head. It's still not done, you know? We're not done. I'm not done with Khamzat. Khamzat is not done with me. I will see him again."
Burns realizes Chimaev's most likely opponents moving forward include either current top contender Colby Covington or perhaps even a crack at reigning champion Kamaru Usman, so he knows the idea of a rematch is going to have to wait. Whatever the next assignment ends up being, Burns wants the chance to make it a five-round affair – a request he made for the Chimaev matchup but wasn't ultimately granted.
"I don't want to do three rounds no more, bro," Burns said. "I'm done with those three rounds. I want to do five rounds. I don't care if I'm the main event, co-main or not. Everyone can make 15 minutes. Everyone can do three rounds. All these guys in the UFC, they do three rounds. Not everybody does 25. A couple of guys, they're going to be in the UFC, they're going to be out of the UFC, and they will never do 25 minutes, but I think we missed a little bit.
"It might have went wrong. If we do 25 minutes, I might have got caught in the fourth or in the last round and lose, but at least I go on my shield, you know, if I would lose – but it could go my way, too. I think people lose a little bit of entertaining or like a couple more crazy rounds. Couple more digging deep. Couple more 'Who wants it more?' Couple more of, you know, over a similar journey, and I want to have that."
Burns plans on traveling to Las Vegas later this week to support his longtime friend Vicente Luque, who faces Belal Muhammad in the main event of Saturday's UFC on ESPN 34. While he's in town, he hopes to meet with UFC brass to work out details of a new contract and line up his next contest for later this year.
With champ Usman expected to face Leon Edwards and Covington vs. Chimaev a possibility, Burns is throwing out the rankings for the moment and is focused on the biggest names available.
"It's kind of hard to say names right now, but I just tested myself," Burns said. "I kind of see the top five now, it's busy, right? So we got Luque against Belal, and we got probably Leon-Kamaru and Colby-Khamzat. That's kind of the picture. It might not happen, but that's the picture right now, so I'm not fighting no one in the top five right now, so now I think I made a big statement; I want a big fight.
"Maybe the Nate Diaz, the Nick Diaz, maybe the (Jorge) Masvidal, that's the fights that I'm looking for. For sure, I gave two steps back to the title, so now I have time to do those big fights, and then when kind of the division vision plays a little bit, get another guy in the top five, but I think I did enough to earn a big fight, and that's that's what I want next."
For now, Burns said he'll spend time with his wife and two kids while letting his body rest. But by late summer, he's hoping to be fighting again, and regardless of the name, he wants them ready to go 25 minutes.
"I need to heal up perfect," Burns said. "Those wars take a lot away from you. I'm not going to be sparring very soon. I'm going to take a little time off from the sport, but be in shape, be training. I will be enjoying it with the family, but I'll say August, September – five rounds.
"The other thing that I want to have in that deal with Dana, I don't want to do three rounds no more. No. Come on. Even if my fight is not a main event, I don't care. I don't want to do three rounds no more. I'm done with three rounds. I'm just doing five rounds no matter who. But please, I need a big fight next."
This story first published at SI.com/MMA.