Gilbert “Durinho” Burns was one of the most talked-about black-belts at the 2013 Worlds No-Gi, which took place on November 2-3, in Long Beach. Vitor Belfort’s ground coach won the middleweight category by getting past aces Leandro Lo and Vitor Oliveira, the latter in the final, after a nice-looking suplex. Proof that his MMA and wrestling training is paying off.
Having just collected his gold medal, Gilbert boarded a plane to Goiânia to assist in Vitor Belfort’s drubbing of Dan Henderson.
In an exclusive chat with GRACIEMAG, Durinho analyzed his triumph in Californian soil, told of how he brought together the spin and pressure to defeat Leandro Lo, and gave us some more BJJ lessons. Check it out and learn from the champ:
GRACIEMAG: What was the strongest aspect of your campaign at the No-Gi Worlds?
GILBERT DURINHO: First I’m thrilled with my performance. I love what I do and I train because I like to, so I went there to have fun. There was nothing much different about it. There is evolution, but the essence remains the same. It was a little bit of everything: craftiness, aggressiveness, wrestling and speed as always. I continue to practice a lot with the gi off and mainly wrestling. In MMA we have to be more aggressive and we cannot afford to let positions slip. If you get swept or taken down in MMA the damage isn’t just two points; it can cost a lot more!
You and Lo clashed in the middleweight semifinal. Was it tough to thwart his sweeps?
I went in focused and every time I fight I fight to win. I knew I was gonna face Leandro and I believe in my game a lot, especially at no-gi. He is a very tough guy, but I went in confident, imposed my kinetic rhythm coupled with pressure and wound up nullifying his game. I’ve always trained with good guard players at Atos, such as Bruno Frazatto, Guto Campos, Rafael Mendes and others. I understand we all have a B side, a weaker side, and that’s what I focused on. I would only pass on his “bad” side and I never stopped moving and pressuring. The main thing was to fight with intelligence, nullifying grips and being annoying the whole time.
And in the final against GFTeam’s Vitor Oliveira there was that nice takedown. What was the detail that led to that successful move?
I knew Vitor beforehand, a guy in an excellent phase, but I knew my wrestling was gonna make a difference, and it did. I tried to get a submission, but he defended properly against the guillotine. So I insisted on the takedown and on the pressure plus movement. The detail there is to confuse the guy, to go to a position having an eye on the variation. I went up on the single-leg already aiming for the back, you know? And then I made it count. I think my steam and my speed made a difference for this title.
What lesson did you learn after conquering this second no-gi world championship?
That training has to be tough, but that more important than training are self-confidence and the will to win. You need to define how bad you want to win, whether you wanna pay the price. When the time comes it’s more of a mental game than a physical one; it’s about determination. I learned that what matters is not how physically strong you are, but rather your mind. Determination is the secret.