Dana White is not surprised that Gilbert Burns is fighting for the welterweight title over Jorge Masvidal.
The UFC president announced on Tuesday that Burns will challenge Kamaru Usman for the 170-pound strap in the main event of UFC 251 July 11 on “Fight Island.”
With the back-and-forth between Usman and Masvidal throughout the year—including a run-in during Super Bowl week in February—most fans believed the matchup was a forgone conclusion. However, Masvidal is in the middle of his own fight with the UFC and, after feeling financially slighted by the promotion during negotiations for the fight with Usman, asked for his release.
“Masvidal is very much like the Diaz brothers,” White told members of the media following the official UFC on ESPN 10 weigh-ins. “He beats to the sound of his own drum and when he wants to do something, he does it. It’s not very surprising at all.”
White doesn’t seem to have any ill-will towards one of the sport’s rising stars. In fact, should “Gamebred” be ready to take a fight in the near future, all he has to so is pick up the phone.
“I’m putting on fights every weekend for the next 10 years,” White stated. “If you want to fight, call us. We’ll offer you fights and if you don’t want to take them, you don’t have to.
“It’s always been that way, and people are acting like this is some new f*ckin drama that just popped up and that this has never happened before in the history of the sport. This happens all the time, non stop.”
With Masvidal out of the current welterweight championship equation, the surging Burns gets his greatest career opportunity next month. “Durinho” made his 170-pound debut 10-months ago when he defeated Alexey Kunchenko at UFC Uruguay.
Since then, Burns extended his winning streak to six fights after picking up victories over Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia and former champion Tyron Woodley to move up to the top contender spot in the divisional rankings.
To White, putting the 32-year-old Brazilian native in the challenger spot was a no-brainer.
“It’s not a surprise,” White said. “This is what we do. We’ve been doing this for 20 years: people who want to fight get fights. People who don’t, don’t.
“He’s the no. 1 ranked guy in the world. No. 1 vs. the champion. This kid wants to stay busy. These kids that come out and go on these runs like Burns is on, want to keep fighting and stay active, they’re healthy, it’s the smartest thing you can do.”