Injury-free Herbert Burns says ‘I beat anyone’ in UFC ‘when I’m 100 percent’ healthy

Herbert Burns finally feels healthy enough to enter the octagon again.

Burns suffered a knee injury during his most recent UFC appearance, a second-round stoppage defeat to Bill Algeo in July 2022. Since then, he’s undergone two procedures to fix injuries to his ACL.

Now booked to face Julio Arce this Saturday at UFC Atlantic City, Burns aims to send a message to the division.

“I know Arce is a big obstacle on my way — he’s no joke,” Burns said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “He’s tough and experienced and [has been] in the UFC for a long time. He has good wins, but he’s going through ups and downs like I am, and I want to rebound. I know I have the skills to beat him. I beat anyone when I’m 100 percent, and I’m 100 percent now. All I have to do is go there and do a great job and get this win.”

Burns has dealt with injuries since his most recent UFC victory, an 80-second submission over Evan Dunham in which he injured his foot. He suffered more serious health issues in bouts against Daniel Pineda and Algeo, sidelining him for much longer.

That’s another reason why the 36-year-old Brazilian didn’t think twice about accepting the fight with Arce.

“I wanted to fight,” Burns said. “I was frustrated, but I focused on what I could do. I took that time to focus on reconstructing my thigh and knees. My leg is way, way stronger now. I’m working out hard every single day.”

It wasn’t easy for the Brazilian featherweight to be inactive for nearly two years. But by managing his Florida gym The Way, he stayed busy and earned money.

“The goal was to come back,” Burns said. “I don’t put extra pressure over me [to win and avoid getting released]. I want to win. I don’t need to fight, I don’t need any of this. I don’t even need to be in the UFC. I don’t need to fight. I have my own gym today, and I can just sit there and teach. I would be cool.

“I don’t do this because I need this, I do it because I want to. I want to win. I’ve worked hard to win. I deserve to win. I’ve worked hard my entire life, and it’s no different now. Coming back from the injury, coming back from everything, all the hard word and sacrifice, I really want this win. I’ve worked so hard for it.”

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