While Gilbert Burns is renowned for his ability inside the cage, it turns out, he’s a man of many talents, recently exhibiting his football skills to the Everton squad.
In the trip of a lifetime, the UFC icon and Stake ambassador flew over to Liverpool to train with the lads who represent the blue half of the city. And it comes as no surprise that, James Tarkowski, Ashley Young, Ben Godfrey and Jordan Pickford revelled in the opportunity to train with the Brazilian legend.
Gilbert Burns loved his time training with the Everton squad
Burns held the pads and let the players enthusiastically fire away, with Godfrey leaving a lasting impression with his powerful left hook. But prior to the session, the MMA star showed off his footballing prowess, honed through years of kicking the ball around on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
After impressing ‘The Toffees’ with his footwork, Burns felt he had no other choice but to attend a game in person. Soaking up the atmosphere, the former jiu-jitsu world champion cheered the lads on as they gave their all en route to a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal. But despite the loss, the combat sports icon had a fantastic time.
In an exclusive interview with Sporf, he beamed: “A couple of them were funny. These guys are very talented. Every single one can punch. We had a great time. I watched a game and had no idea what to expect. We lost, but it was a good match. They fought very hard. I loved the atmosphere. Everyone was cheering super hard. Those fans are fanatics; they are crazy — I like it. I loved every single minute.
“I trained with Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann while I was in Liverpool. But the next day, I did a session with the Everton team, and I showed some skills with the football. I’m not bad; I grew up playing football in Brazil. I scored a couple of goals; we played for a bit, and at the end, I showed a couple of moves. They can throw. They’ve got power. They’re so athletic that if you add a little bit of technique, they can be very good. We had fun; it was a great time.”
Gilbert Burns changed his life forever with a huge victory over Jorge Masvidal
After leaving his beloved Brazil, Burns moved to Miami, quickly falling in love with the beauty of the Florida city. However, while he made an instant impression on the MMA community, it wasn’t until he defeated Jorge Masvidal that the public really started paying attention.
He explained: “I fought in Miami, which is the second place that I live. I was born and raised in Rio, but now, I live in Boca Raton, which is an hour away from Miami. When the UFC came to Miami, they offered me Jorge Masvidal, and I was so happy. I got a big win, and that changed things around here. A couple of guys knew me before, but beating Masvidal changed the way people see me in Miami.”
Burns continued: “Then, I got a short-notice fight against Belal Muhammad, and I thought I was going to get a title shot. But unfortunately, I got a big injury on my arm, in three different ligaments, my ligament was hanging. It was a hard four months; I couldn’t do anything; even a jog would hurt; I had to do nothing. I slowly went to the PT and started training the shoulder to make it strong. I’m 100% healed and back in training; I’m happy to be back doing what I love.”
Throughout his career, the sublime grappler has showcased a remarkable jiu-jitsu game and an unrelenting will to win. But it was the victory over Masvidal that really sealed his legacy. However, the 37-year-old’s journey isn’t done until he becomes champion, continuing his journey towards the top on March 9 against Jack Della Maddalena back in Miami.
Featured Image Credit: Gilbert Burns