A double Olympian, World and European medallist, he has even beaten the Japanese at their own sport in their own backyard. Glasgow 2014 appears the perfect opportunity to cap an accomplished career with a gold medal in front of a home crowd at the Emirates Arena.
The trouble is, he no longer puts himself first. He took the decision after London 2012 to focus on coaching and is now Scotland's assistant national high performance coach.
Yet the last few weeks have shown that competing still has a hold on him. After making a tentative return to international competition at the European Cup in Slovakia where he finished fifth, he went on to win the European Cup in Serbia last month (at 34-and-a-half, the second oldest to win a European Cup title). It gave him the qualifying standard for the Commonwealth Games.
Impressive enough but the fact Burton has stepped up two weight categories - from under-81kg to under-100kg - means he is punching well above his weight.
Athletes, by their nature, have to be selfish. As a coach, Burton is finding he has to be selfless.
"My focus is coaching now," he says. "I've said from day one when I took the job that if anything was to negatively affect the athletes I'm working with, then I wouldn't do it. A 100%, my focus is still coaching and that's really my main role for Glasgow, being a coach for the team.
"Success for me is not going to be based on whether I get a medal or not, it's going be the success of the team, that's my purpose now.
"Immediately after London 2012, I told British Judo that I did not want to be considered for selection for GB in future. My time competing at top international level was over but I always had in the back of my mind that there was a possibility I would look at finishing my competitive career in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games.
"Undoubtedly, my best medal opportunity if I was still focusing on myself as an athlete would have been at under-81 kilos. I used to have to cut quite a bit of weight for that which is fine when you are only focusing on yourself. But when you're focusing on another 25 to 30 athletes that you are coaching, it's not fair on them to have mood swings and all that when you are dieting," says Burton, who has taken a late decision to compete at next weekend's men's European Open at the Emirates Arena.
"At 90 kilos, we have two guys who I think are capable of medalling at the Games. For me as a coach, I'd never want to think of myself as potentially taking the place of an athlete who has a chance of a medal just for me to have probably an equal chance.
"At under-100kg, we only really have one player so there is potentially another space there."
Burton could be lining up for Team Scotland while his wife, London 2012 silver medallist Gemma Gibbons, is competing for Team England. Both train at the impressive national centre in Ratho, which has attracted some of England's best judoka, a few of who will compete for Scotland at Glasgow 2014.
"At this moment in time, it doesn't feel like we're going to be on different teams," he says. "All we're trying to do is get every player on the mat - wherever they're from - to fulfil their potential and become better athletes.
"No doubt, the closer it gets to the Commonwealth Games it will be a little more about Team Scotland and Team England, but it's having no effect just now although it is in the back of all of our minds. There are three or four athletes here who are trying to make Team England and 25 or 30 athletes trying to make Team Scotland.
"I'm English-born but have spent 33 of my 34 years in Scotland and certainly feel that I am Scottish. There has never been a time in my life where I've felt I was English. Some of those athletes who have intentions of making the team have known times of being English because they have maybe moved here in their teens. But quite a few say they feel like their judo is definitely Scottish because all their training at a high level has been done in Scotland."
Burton has clearly moved on from London 2012 when his part lasted barely two minutes, losing to Canadian Antoine Valois-Fortier in the second round after a first-round bye. His emotions were then laid bare in a tearful interview at the side of the mat where he believed he let his family and friends down.
"I felt how I felt when I was interviewed and that's probably because it happened within 30 seconds of walking off the mat," he recalls. "At that stage, I was still trying to digest and work through what just happened. The moment you walk off the mat, you do realise you have lost but it takes a bit of time to compute, that it's all over and you're not getting another chance. That was basically my career finished at that level. That was how I felt at the time.
"Since then, I've spoken to a lot of my friends and family and I don't feel I've let people down. I spoke to my parents, my brother and Gemma and none of them felt I'd let them down, in fact quite the opposite. They were really proud of the way I'd conducted myself and put myself in a position to win an Olympic medal.
"But it was still massively disappointing and I don't have much memory of that day. I think, subconsciously, I've blanked it out. It was a horrible, horrible day. I felt I had the chance to be Olympic champion and didn't take that chance. I was very upset straight afterwards. I went into the warm-up room and didn't want to leave as I didn't want to speak to my mum and dad, I knew I was too emotional. I stayed in the warm-up room that whole afternoon and watched how the rest of the category unfolded.
"Occasionally, David [Somerville, Scottish High Performance Coach] or my training partners would come across to speak to me and I would break down in tears again. When I thought I'd just about pulled myself back together again, I stupidly turned my phone back on. I was getting thousands of messages and tweets with goodwill messages.
"It's funny that when people are nice to you at a time of hardship it can be more upsetting than when people get on your back or put you down. The positive things people were saying to me left me in tears for about another two hours and I couldn't stop myself from crying. It was an amazing response from the British public.
"When you don't get the gold medal, at the end of the day sport has still given you a huge amount. I still feel so privileged to have had a life in judo. It's given me a lot of medals but it's given me much more than that. It has shaped my character and my viewpoint through the people I have met."
o European Open, Emirates Arena, Glasgow, Saturday and Sunday, 20 October. Tickets £15 and concessions from £7.50. See www.britishjudo.org.uk/glasgow2013 for more information