Burns (20-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) has been asking for the matchup for the past several months, and Masvidal (35-16 MMA, 12-9 UFC) has expressed interest as well, if he couldn’t get his top-priority pairing with Conor McGregor next.
With no signs of a McGregor comeback as he films the “Roadhouse” movie remake, Burns said Masvidal has committed to a showdown.
“Nothing done yet – a lot of talks about the fight with Masvidal – he verbally agreed. I did too,” Burns told MMA Junkie on Thursday. “They’re just figuring out the date. No date yet. November was too close, … so December or January. At least I know I have an opponent. Just figuring out the date right now.”
Burns said he’s flexible when it comes to a date and location to fight Masvidal. UFC 281 takes place Nov. 12 in New York, UFC 282 is Dec. 10 – likely in Las Vegas – and UFC 283 takes place Jan. 21 in Rio de Janeiro.
As a Brazilian, Burns said he’s warm to the idea of a homecoming in January, but he’s not going to take a hard stance.
“No. 1 would be MSG in November, but then he said no for that date,” Burns said. “Now December or January, I can wait like 20 more days to go to Brazil. I’m looking forward to go to the Brazil card.”
With Masvidal, No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie welterweight rankings, on a three-fight losing skid, an argument could be made that No. 6-ranked Burns is not the ideal matchup to help him get back on track.
Burns, for his part, is coming off a defeat against Khamzat Chimaev. “Durinho” is hungry to get back in the win column, and although he’s not overlooking Masvidal, he said he’s confident in a definitive victory.
“Even though he’s coming from losses, it’s just from Kamaru (Usman) and Colby (Covington) – it’s not like, ‘Oh, he’s been destroyed,’” Burns said. “He lost to two of the best guys in the division, so I don’t look down on him. It’s going to be a good fight. Entertaining, both guys coming from a loss, and I want to take his head off.”