Gilbert Burns is one of the best grapplers and MMA fighters on the planet and he’s recently opened up about his time training with elite heavyweight Francis Ngannou. The two men are in vastly different weight classes of course, as Burns competed at lightweight during the early days of his career and has been a welterweight since 2019. That doesn’t stop them training together though of course, and naturally an elite grappler like Burns would be a fantastic training partner for someone who’s primarily a striker like Ngannou.
He recently appeared on an episode of the JAXXON podcast and when the topic of conversation turned to Francis Ngannou, Gilbert Burns was initially a little cryptic about their time together on the mats:
“I trained with him before, he didn’t like it.”
It didn’t take much for him to start going into detail though, as he explained that the two men spent some time training together several years ago when Ngannou was still on the rise in the UFC heavyweight division. Burns was already an accomplished BJJ black belt so he would obviously be able to deal with a far less experienced partner like Ngannou despite the large size difference. Burns has been held in incredibly high regard all throughout his career and some even believe he has the best grappling in MMA right now. According to him, things didn’t quite go to plan when he grappled with Ngannou though:
“That was a long time ago… We were still at Blackzillians, so that’s been what? five years ago, maybe? We grapple hard and I get his arm and he didn’t tap, he popped his arm! I was so afraid, I said ‘Oh my God. this guy’s gonna kill me now!’ But he was cool about it.”
The full interview with Gilbert Burns where he discusses his time training with Francis Ngannou was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of the JAXXON podcast: