Burns: 'I will stop him!'
Story by David L. Hudson
Iowa native Kevin Burns looks forward to returning to the win column in his upcoming about against T.J. Grant at UFC 107 in Memphis, Tennessee. Burns emerged on the UFC scene in shocking fashion in June 2008 by submitting Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Roan Carneiro in an upset. Burns then pulled another upset by defeating hot prospect Anthony Johnson the next month, although the fight was marred somewhat by the eye poke that crippled Johnson.
However, Burns suffered two setbacks in his next two bouts, dropping a rematch to the dangerous Johnson and then losing a decision in an incredible war with Chris Lytle. For his upcoming match Burns has been training at Trevor Whittman’s Grudge Training Center where he has worked with fighters such as Rashad Evans, Shane Carwin and Nate Marquardt. Burns says he will reap the benefits of regularly rolling with such world-class talent.
“It helps to spar and train with people who are at your level or above your level because it shows you the holes in your game,” Burns says. “I have good training in Iowa but it really helped to go out there to Grudge and improve my skills.”
Burns knows that any fight in the Octagon presents a formidable challenge, as there are no easy fights. He feels Grant is a solid opponent. “He is a tough opponent,” Burns says. “He is well versed in all disciplines. He likes to come forward and take fights to the ground. I think the biggest threat he presents are his submissions.”
Burns believes he definitely has the edge in the stand-up power game. “I don’t fear his stand-up at all so I’d love to keep the fight standing up. But, I don’t really fear his ground game either, but I imagine he will try to take me down.”
Burns is not looking past Grant, but does strive to improve his positioning in a crowded 170 lb. welterweight division. “I view this fight as an opportunity to get back on track,” he said. “The end game goal for me is to compete for a world title and to do that I have to string together some wins.”
Though he has lost his last two fights, Burns takes that as a positive in the sense that he learned things from those experiences. “I learned a lot in those fights. I am right on the cusp on doing a lot in the welterweight division. I think I have gotten my skill level where I can really make a run.” Burns says that at some point in the future he would like to test his skills against Dong Hyun-Kim, the South Korean undefeated fighter whom Burns said he respects and admires.
Burns is a crowd favorite given his proclivity to engage and take chances in his bouts. “I like to be exciting and take chances in there,” he says. “I go in there to win and finish fights.”
And that’s exactly what Burns predicts he will do at UFC 107 – finish T.J. Grant before the final bell. “I’m going to stop him whether by submission, knockout or technical knockout.”
Tune in to UFC 107 to see if Burns can deliver on his prediction and begin his run up the welterweight ladder.