It looks like a former UFC title challenger is gearing up to make his return. Australian MMA insider Benny P reported on X this week that top Australian welterweight contender Jack Della Maddalena (16-2) was being booked against former welterweight title challenger Gilbert “Durinho” Burns (22-6).
Per the report, this fight will either take place at UFC 298 in February or UFC 299 in March. Burns recently told MMA Junkie that he was targeting a return in March so it would line up with the second date, however, there has been a push for the fight to get added to the February card which is headlined by fellow Australian Alexander Volkanovski.
This would be a huge opportunity for JDM who is currently ranked 11th in the welterweight division while Burns is sitting at number four. A win over Durinho would vault Della Maddalena right into the title picture. The story on Della Maddalena is a remarkable one. The Australian lost his first two professional MMA bouts.
However, he’s been perfect since winning 16 straight including his first six in the UFC. That said, his last two fights have been very close. After running through his first four opponents winning all by first round stoppage, it’s been two straight split decision wins for JDM. Most recently, he defeated Kevin Holland at Noche UFC back in September.
UFC Welterweight Showcase
This will be the first fight since last May for Gilbert Burns. Back in May, Burns took on Belal Muhammad in a five-round co-main event at UFC 288. Muhammad largely dominated that fight, however, Burns was at a disadvantage. Early on in the fight, Burns injured his shoulder and hasn’t been able to compete since.
That said, he’s been cleared to resume training and he told MMA Junkie in that same interview reference above that he’s back to feeling 100%. In terms of competition, by rankings, this is a step back for Burns. However, JDM is a very dangerous opponent and I fully expect to see the best version of Burns.
Whoever wins this fight will be right in the title picture at 170. Wherever this fight falls whether it be February or March, there should be a lot of eyes on this one.