Burns Brothers Credit Sports Psychologist for Recent UFC Success

By: Marcelo Alonso
Jun 8, 2020
Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog.com

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The Burns family has definitely had plenty to celebrate lately.

Seven days after Gilbert Burns dominated every minute of a five-round main event against former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC on ESPN 9, his younger brother, Herbert, opened UFC 250 with a first-round submission over veteran Evan Dunham for his second Octagon triumph.

While Gilbert assumed the top spot in the UFC’s welterweight rankings and is hoping he gets the next title shot against friend and training partner Kamaru Usman, Herbert is already asking for a chance against a Top 15 in featherweight. Recognized by teammates for their work ethic and passion for training, the Burns brothers have another point in common: the focus on achieving a strong mind to reach the peak of the sport.

“MMA is the toughest sport on earth. The same way you train your body, you must train your mind. You can be well trained everywhere, but if you are not mentally prepared, you can put everything at risk,” said Gilbert, who began working with psychologist Luciana Castelo Branco in 2016, when prior to facing Michel Prazeres at UFC Fight Night 95 in Brasilia.

“At that time, I have to say that I had no idea what sports psychology meant. But after Vicente Luque introduced me to her and told me about her amazing results with Olympic judo champion Sarah Menezes, jiu-jitsu world champion Rodolfo Vieira and Luque himself, I decided to test it. Today, I just can´t imagine my training without Luciana,” said Gilbert, who also brought his brother to work with Castelo Branco.

“Most people think that a psychologist is someone who will put you in a chair and try to find your childhood trauma, but it´s much more than that,” Herbert explained. “It´s not like coaching or some kind of motivational stuff. Even though we don’t need any motivation to train, the organization her techniques bring for our whole camp are just amazing.”

Gilbert explained some techniques that Castelo Branco uses to help improve their training routine.

“There are countless techniques depending which phase you are. Like visualization, mental toughness, association, inner dialogue, stair of goals, ego control and so on,” he said.

According to Gilbert and Herbert, psychological techniques also help them to organize their camp in different areas.

“Two days after each fight we have a consultation to evaluate the goal we reached and start the whole process again,” Gilbert says. “We take one week rest and restart our job, making a base plan, which is the training I´ll require to improve some specific area during the one month before the start of camp. When the camp starts we begins the stair of goals and so on.”

With support of psychology, excellent coaches and tough sparring partners, the Burns brothers are working hard to reach their dream of one day becoming the first champion brothers in UFC history. Advertisement
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