The Brazilian welterweight contender Gilbert Burns takes on former teammate and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the main event of UFC 258 on Feb. 13 in Las Vegas and is confident enough that he will finish the champion.
This matchup was originally supposed to happen at UFC 251 in July, however, Burns tested positive for COVID-19 in the lead-up and was ultimately replaced by Jorge Masvidal just six days before. Usman (17-1) went on to successfully defend the title against Masvidal via unanimous decision.
Usman, of Nigeria, trained alongside Burns in south Florida for years before relocating his camp to Denver in 2020. He is 12-0 in the UFC and has defended the belt twice, against Colby Covington and Masvidal. ESPN ranks him as the No. 5 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Burns, of Brazil, is 4-0 since moving up from the UFC’s lightweight division. He catapulted up the 170-pound rankings in 2020, with dominant wins over Demian Maia and former champion Tyron Woodley. He continues to train in South Florida, at Sanford MMA in Deerfield Beach.
Gilbert Burns says he is confident in getting the finish
Speaking to TMZ Sports ahead of UFC 258, Burns boldly predicted he will finish Usman when the two former training partners meet next month in the Octagon.
“I see a finish. I just can see a finish. I’m very dangerous. I got good weapons. I’m making sure everything is getting sharp. The last two weeks until the day of the fight I’m going to make sure everything is in control. Everything that I can control I will control. I’m going to sharpen every single tool that I have, and I believe I will be the one that will finish Kamaru on February 13. I don’t know (when), but inside the three or four rounds I think will be able to get a finish,” Burns said.
The Brazillian and the Nigerian, duo are set to clash next month, but it will not be the first time the two will trade punches.
“Me and Kamaru had over 200 rounds sparring, at least,” Burns told MMA Junkie. “We started training together in 2012 in Blackzillians. Then Blackzillians broke down, they disappeared, so we moved with Henri Hooft. We went to a place called Combat Club. Then we were there for almost a year, and then we opened up the Hard Knocks. We were at Hard Knocks for two years. Then we moved to Sanford MMA and then we been in Sanford for a total of two years. So I’ve trained with Kamaru for seven years and we both love to train.
“He was a good training partner for me and I was a good partner for him. Just sparring sessions, over 200. And just the grappling sessions, plus the wrestling sessions, for sure I have so many hours on the mat with Kamaru. We know each other very well.”
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