Although many fans likely believe Josh Burkman’s Octagon return could be a rather unpleasant one at UFC 182, the rugged vet seems to be pretty confident heading into his scrap with Hector Lombard.
Burkman has worked his way back to the UFC thanks to a 9-2 run, which included impressive wins over the likes of Jon Fitch and Aaron Simpson. While there’s little doubt that Burkman is a much improved fighter since his first run with ZUFFA, he is booked to take on one of the welterweight division’s most feared fighters in Lombard.
If you look at the betting lines, they have Lombard as a heavy favourite to win in the -630 to -700 range. Burkman, on the other hand, is the underdog in the +415 to +530 spectrum. But, as “The People’s Warrior” recently told FOX Sports.com, being the underdog hasn’t been an issue for him in the past.
“I know I’m an underdog in this fight. I’ve been an underdog ever since I came back,” Burkman said. “Even in my fights in Utah everybody said ‘oh Burkman’s old he doesn’t have anything left’. Then I come into World Series of Fighting and I’m a 4-to-1 underdog against Gerald Harris, I’m a 3-to-1 underdog against Aaron Simpson, I’m a 4-to-1 underdog against Jon Fitch, so this is just my path.
“The reason I’ve gotten where I’m at is because I win fights I’m not supposed to win. I’m going to continue to do that. I really believe I’m about to make a run. Hector Lombard is the one who should be worried.”
Now sure, most fighters embrace the underdog role, as it does take off some of the pressure heading into a fight. In Burkman’s case, however, he really has produced some big, big wins when his opponent was favoured to win.
And really, Burkman has very little to lose in this fight. New, “UFC only” fans likely aren’t familiar with what he’s accomplished in recent years, and there is a ton of buzz tied to Lombard right now and his title shot aspirations at 170. So, if Burkman loses, he was supposed to. If he wins, then he’s taken out the UFC’s #6 welterweight and would likely jump right into the top ten.
It’s definitely one of the more intriguing bouts scheduled for the January 3rd, UFC 182 card, which will go down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones will take on Daniel Cormier in the headliner.