Gilbert Burns brings in Bellator’s Raymond Daniels to prepare for Stephen Thompson at UFC 264

    Gilbert Burns brought a kickboxing champion into his training camp to try and solve the Stephen Thompson puzzle.

    Burns (19-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) meets Thompson (16-4-1 MMA, 11-4-1 UFC) on July 10 at UFC 264 where he’ll attempt to re-enter the title picture by taking out one of the division’s most elusive fighters.

    In preparation, Burns sought assistance from credentialed kickboxer-turned-MMA fighter Raymond Daniels. The Bellator competitor came out to Sanford MMA to help Burns prepare.

    “He has good movement, great footwork, a good poker face,” Burns told the South China Morning Post. “He does that very good, trying to be very friendly, but I know he likes to frustrate people, make the guys miss and be very comfortable. I brought a couple of karate guys and one of the guys especially was Raymond Daniels. He was here for two weeks, and he’s coming back next week, and I learned so much from these guys, little things that I wasn’t paying attention to.

    “I always loved boxing and kickboxing, for sure wrestling and grappling, but I never paid too much attention to my footwork and for this camp I had to. I’m learning so much, and I think it’s not even about Stephen Thompson so much. It’s about me growing as an athlete, to get better in every single aspect in a couple of things that I never thought would make a difference in my game is making a lot of difference.”

    Daniels doesn’t only have a wealth of experience in kickboxing and sport karate, but he’s already competed against Thompson in the past. Daniels defeated Thompson by TKO due to injury in a kickboxing bout in 2007, but Daniels said the stoppage occurred when “Wonderboy” blew his knee out very early in the fight.

    Burns thinks Daniels, who’s already used his striking skills to score multiple knockouts in Bellator, is a more dangerous version of Thompson and is the perfect training partner for this camp.

    “(Daniels) is freaking dangerous,” Burns said. “And I was very impressed by him from the beginning because we already had a game plan. I already cornered Vicente Luque against ‘Wonderboy,’ so I’m very familiar with that style. We train with a couple of guys that do that style, and yeah, I was very surprised with the things that (Daniels has) been sharing with me, and I was able to pick up a lot of things. I was very impressed with Raymond Daniels’ game and ability and all the knowledge he has on striking.”

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