Gilbert Burns: Life Lessons, Painful Childhood, Finding Success, and More!


Gilbert Burns

Gilbert Burns is a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) player and also a combat wrestler who acts as a submission grappler. He is a record-holder fighter with several titles. Burns is known for having an unbeatable record during his early career in the Jiu-Jitsu championship. Also, he plays in the welterweight division of UFC. The MMA artist has various records in his name, for example, he is a second-degree black belt holder in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Burns has also won three times as a Jiu-Jitsu world champion. Gilbert Burns in the UFC holds the maximum number of wins and few defeats. Let’s get into some of the facts about his career and his life in general. 

Gilbert Burns: Biography and Interesting Facts About His Life

Ethnicity: 

Gilbert Burns stepped into the earth on 20 July 1986 at Niteroi in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Although he is a Brazillian national, Gilbert’s family heritage compass into Portuguese and African origins. Durinho is a symbol of hope for the Brazilians as they enjoy the fighting spirit within him. As a result, the commercial advertisements display him to help sell their products. 

Childhood and pulmonary disease:

Burns is the second among the three children born out of wedlock between his father, Herbert Sr., and Tania, his mother. 

Sadly, Gilbert was only six months old when he started battling a pulmonary disease. Just like his mother and grandmother, Burns and his younger brother Herbert struggled with the pulmonary disease for years and had to be taken to a hospital several times for a shot of adrenaline as early as six months of age

Burns had to go to the hospital every month to get vaccinated with adrenaline. After his doctor’s suggestion, his father admitted him to a swimming school for better cardio health. Subsequently, the problem went away. Doctors considered him acceptable to do heavy exercises; that’s why he joined a karate class. Information about his formal education is currently unavailable. However, his parents said that Gilbert completed high school at Rio’s local school. 

Training: 

Burns was only four years of age when he started training in Karate, but his practice did not last long because of his lack of interest. His dad asked him to join again but his health wouldn’t allow it.  Seven years later, however, his father’s upholstery business would forever link all the Burns kids, including Gilbert’s older brother Frederick, to jiu-jitsu.

Burns’ parents Herbert and Tania shared a piece of land in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, with other members of the family, and one day a man reached out to rent their backyard to use as a site for karate classes.

“My father worked as an upholsterer at home and one day this client showed up to get his car seats fixed, and there was a gi inside the car,” Burns told MMA Fighting. “My brothers and I helped my father at work sometimes, and we found the gi in there and started playing with it. My dad saw that as an opportunity.”

The year was 1998 and the Burns family was short of money. That said, the patriarch decided to make a bold suggestion: Instead of getting paid for the job,  money that they all needed very much, he asked the client, which happened to be jiu-jitsu coach Luiz Carlos, if he would give his sons a jiu-jitsu scholarship. Carlos agreed, and gave them all three months free of charge.

“Nothing is by chance. No way,” Burns says. “It was an opportunity that thank God my dad took it, and it changed not only my life, but my brothers’ and my parents’ lives, too. Now we can support their studies, and we hopefully will be able to get their visa so they can move in with us here in the United States.

“That decision he made that day, to exchange his pay for jiu-jitsu classes, was a gigantic investment that keeps bearing fruits. This is my first main event, the first of many. I’m a few fights away from the belt… It’s crazy to stop and think about all this.”

How he became Durinho:

For his son’s better future, Gilbert’s father submitted to fix his customer’s car – trading the deal for three months of Jiu-Jitsu tutorings for Burns. 

“My father turned at us after the first day of training and asked if we enjoyed it,” Burns says. “When we said yes, he told us, ‘So work really hard because I won’t have money to pay for it. I’ll go there and try to convince him when this three-month period is over.’”

One month into jiu-jitsu, the Burns trio was already competing in a local tournament in Sao Goncalo. The next month, they entered another one in Niteroi. When the three months of free training were over with three tournaments in the books, Burns was in love.

With jiu-jitsu? Not really.

“I had love at first sight with competition, actually,” he says with a laugh. “I didn’t really enjoy training because there were some older kids there that smashed me, so I hated training. I loved the competition, though. Everyone screaming… And my father said he’d buy us all ice cream if we won, so we were always excited to compete [laughs].”

It was everything they could ask for, until Carlos’ gym went bankrupt. Luckily for Gilbert and his brothers, Carlos reached out to Associacao Oriente leaders Max Camara and Rafael Barros to suggest adding the trio of promising grapplers to their stable.

And that’s when “Durinho” was born.

In 2007, Gilbert started to develop an interest in combat sports, and the results were promising because he won a brown-belt in the IBIJF world competition. In 2011, he professionally started combat sports training – which led him to the most prominent position of his initial career because he accomplished a gold medal during the 2011 World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Age: 

Burns is currently 34 years old. He is an old player in comparison to other UFC players. He is fully fit and fine and fighting with great passion. Further, Gilbert has no plans for retirement because his fitness condition is proper to compete against others in MMA. 

Body measurements:

Burns has an adequate height of 5 ft 10 inches. He is beyond mediocre MMA fighters because his height is an advantage while competing. 

Gilbert is called Durinho as his nickname because of his body structure. Durinho has a muscular body in good shape. Gilbert weighs around 77 kilograms- which is perfect for his height, according to the nutritionists. His diet plan is a strict one because Gilbert does not want to compromise his health. Moreover, in the morning, Burns does intense exercises for hours. After that, he eats a protein-filled diet with different green leafy veggies. Burns believes that for a sound body, people should maintain a well-balanced diet.

Net worth:

At present, Gilbert has signed to UFC. It is his primary source of income. He revealed that during his career in the UFC, about $900,000 wages were received as earnings. However, Burns has not disclosed his exact amount of salary and net worth; after studying his thriving career, we can assume his net worth around $250,000- $500,000. 

Moreover, several clothing brands from Brazil currently endorse Durinho. Also, he has played advertisements for numerous multi-national companies. Let’s take a look at how she amassed his wealth: 

Burns joined MMA in 2012 to pursue a professional career. He made his debut on the 1st of January 2012 as an MMA fighter. After that, the UFC invited him to fight in America. It was his dream to fight in professional competition in the UFC. So without any second doubts, Gilbert moved to America in July 2014. 

Since then, Burns has played a total number of 22 matches. He has won 19 matches and lost only three matches. Gilbert was in the lightweight division till 2019. But after 2019, the UFC promoted him under the welterweight division. Gilbert has won the three-time world champion title in 2010, 2011, 2013 simultaneously. Also, he has received performance of the night four times. During Burns’ career, he has lost matches with Rashid Magomedov in a unanimous decision on 7 November 2015. Similarly, against Michael Prazerez, he also lost on 11-2. At last, Burns lost a match against famous Boxer and MMA fighter, Dan Hooker, on 7 July 2018. 

Covid-19:

Durinho tested positive for Coronavirus on 5 July 2020. Though he did not have any complications due to Covid-19, he followed the government’s guidelines and maintained proper isolation. UFC planned to conduct a match between Burns and Kamaru Usman on that day. The event was held for the welterweight title fight.     

After being diagnosed with Covid-19, Burns has not played any matches in the UFC. After much waiting, UFC is finally setting up the welterweight title fight between Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman; for the third time. According to reports, the two UFC fighters will make UFC 258 headlines on February 13. 

Likewise, the two were originally slated for UFC 251 back in July, but Burns’ testing COVID-19 positive flopped the plan. Gilbert was replaced by Jorge Masvidal, who sadly lost the match via unanimous decision.  

Wife:

Durinho is a married man. He exchanged his vows with his long-time girlfriend, Bruna Burns, on 10 August 2012. The couple met during Jiu-Jitsu training sessions. Further, Bruna is also a professional fighter. Bruna won Black Belt National Champ awards in 2012. Gilbert’s wife is also a tutor at the Academy of Combat Club. She is currently working as a professor there. 

Sons:

The couple is blessed with two sons, Pedro Brenaiah Burns and Joshua Burns. Their date of birth is not disclosed to the public. But we can guess that Pedro is above six years and Joshua is below five years. 

Hobbies:

Burns loves to travel to new places. He is an explorer. Also, Durinho does not travel alone; Burns travels with his family. During the holidays, he visits beaches and seashore areas with his wife and kids. Durinho’s favorite movie is Dumb and Dumber. He likes comedy movies, and he is a big fan of Jim Carrey. Also, Gilbert likes Sally Field, a Hollywood actress. Further, talking about his favorite destination is Kilkenny, Ireland. Burns likes cold weather because his country, Brazil, has a hot climate. Gilbert likes to eat fruits, and his favorite fruit is Shaddock. Gilbert Burns currently resides in Lantana, Florida. Though, he has to move frequently to different parts of America for UFC matches

Social media:

Gilbert Burns likes to use social media. He is primarily present on Instagram and Twitter. He does use a Facebook account – but as a secondary means of communication. B

urns’ Instagram is loaded with partying captures and personal memories. He doesn’t like to upload his professional stuff on Instagram. Gilbert with his country’s flag. However, Gilbert uploads his professional snaps on his Twitter account. People can see him active on Twitter. In Durinho’s Facebook Id, we can see his son’s pictures and match event announcements. Mostly, Durinho uses the English language on Twitter and Instagram. But he posts everything in the Brazilian-Portuguese snd English language on Facebook.                                                              

Career:

Durinho actually enjoyed training jiu-jitsu at that time, yet, he only woke up to the idea of turning it into a career after his first trip to the United States years later. He loved going to Tijuca Tenis Clube gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro to watch jiu-jitsu superstars compete for the IBJJF world title as a 15-year-old, and he “had that click.”

In 2007, when he was well-recognized enough as a promising brown-belt to have people investing money and taking him to California to compete for a IBJJF medal, Burns decided that’s all he wanted for his life.

“I saw some fighters I hadn’t seen in years, and when I asked them how they were doing, they all told me they had been living in the United States for years, had their own house and their own gym,” Burns says. “In my head, they were good at jiu-jitsu but they were not at my level — or at the level I thought I would get —, so I thought to myself, ‘I’ll be here soon.’”

Durinho had a great year in 2010, capturing the gold medal at the IBJJF World No-Gi and Brazilian National — and thousands of dollars at UAEJJF’s Abu Dhabi Pro. The crown jewel was still missing, the IBJJF World Championship as a black belt.

The wait was finally over in 2011.

Instead of going back to the jiu-jitsu mats to pursue more medals, Durinho felt it was time for a change.

“Being a jiu-jitsu world champion as a black belt was on my bucket list and that was done, so I decided to go to MMA,” Burns says. “I’ve always wanted to fight MMA since my days at Nova Uniao, when I watched (Jose) Aldo and the guys train, but I wanted to have that in my record, to be a world champion as a black belt. It was my dream, and it would also give me a name to get in the UFC later. I wouldn’t just be another jiu-jitsu guy, I would be a world champion.”

Burns learned from some of the best jiu-jitsu had to offer for years, from Andre Galvao to the Mendes brothers. He was a full-time fighter now. In his first years preparing for a new sport, Durinho was lucky enough to train with the elite such as Michael Chandler, Gray Maynard, Martin Kampmann and Tyson Griffin. 

When he moved to the other coast, Burns trained with future UFC stars Kamaru Usman and Vicente Luque “before they even got in the UFC, which was a giant learning experience for me.”

“I had no MMA record and I was already in Vitor’s corner,” he says. “I was in the workout room with Rashad Evans, Henri Hooft and Tyrone Spong, and years later I would be part of their team. It’s crazy how life goes. The cool part of being in a big UFC event and visualizing everything there before I was even in the UFC. I trained with the best in jiu-jitsu and the best in MMA. I’ve been training my whole life for this.”

The call to finally enter the UFC came in 2014, after making a name for himself in the regional circuit with a perfect 7-0 record. 

Durinho beat Andreas Stahl in his UFC debut before cutting down to lightweight and tapping Christos Giagos and Alex Oliveira with armbars. He had a rocky road then, going 3-3 between 2015 and 2018 before saying goodbye to his life as a lightweight with wins over Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Mike Davis.

The biggest moment to date in Burns’ professional career went down in Las Vegas, when he headlines UFC on ESPN 9 opposite former 170-pound champion Tyron Woodley— and that comes just months after Durinho stopped Demian Maia in the octagon, his third welterweight victory in a row after decisions over Alexey Kunchenko and Gunnar Nelson.

In 2020, while waiting for his UFC title shot, Burns decided to challenge Nate Diaz to a grappling match on Chael Sonnen’s promotion, Submission Underground, but this was also the year he contracted Covid. 


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