Dana White indicated at the weekend that Gilbert Burns was in pole position to take the co-main event spot at UFC 288 in New Jersey on May 6th after Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush was pulled from the line-up, and he’s now taken to social media to call-out some fighters he’d like to go up against.
An obvious choice was Belal Muhammad, who is currently placed on spot above him in the welterweight rankings at No.4 after going unbeaten in his last nine fights.
“May 6! Co main #ufc288 ☎️,” Burns wrote on Twitter yesterday alongside a photo of Muhammad and himself.
May 6! Co main #ufc288 ☎️ pic.twitter.com/pa4OPiJVRJ
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) April 17, 2023
However, Muhammad said he couldn’t make welterweight on short notice notice and so suggested a catchweight instead, which led to Burns turning his attention to calling out No.2 ranked lightweight contender Dustin Poirier instead.
“All do respect to @DustinPoirier I know you are a dog!” Burns wrote. “May 6 I suppose to fight Belal for n1 contender! I just think me and you will be an amazing fight! Nothing but respect ✊🏾 #ufc288.”
And Poirier signalled his interest, but only if the UFC pays him accordingly.
“Respect Gilbert 👊 I can make 170 no problem, I’m not really in fight shape but 💰 talks,” Poirier replied.
Meanwhile, Muhammad made it clear that he wasn’t happy about Burns moving on to other options rather than taking him on a catchweight.
“😂so now we calling out lightweights,” Muhammad wrote.
“Guy cannot make weight? 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️,” Burns responded.
“Lol u just came off fight camp and made weight last week and u don’t want to do a catchweight with another welterweight that just got off the couch ?🤷♂️” Muhammad fired back.
Muhammad also reacted angrily to another Twitter user who suggested he’d been wrong to offer a catchweight, revealing that he’d only asked for it to be at 175lbs.
“You clown he said my name first and I don’t have to fight on 3 weeks notice but I agreed to fight,” Muhammad wrote. “He just made weight and had a full camp Last week so obviously he’s in shape and ready to make weight you clown .. i have all the risk the catchweight was 175 not 205 clown.”
So at this stage it’s not clear which, if any, of these options the UFC will attempt to pursue. The clock is ticking though with only 18 days left until fight night, so they’ll have to make a decision sooner than later.