By now, it is well known that Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns were training partners for multiple years and developed a strong bond through training sessions inside the gym and the camaraderie that extended outside of it. But as of the moment they enter the Octagon in the main event of UFC 258 on February 3, that is all over. And as far as Usman is concerned, Gilbert Burns will go from good friend to being just another adversary who’s made it personal by trying to take what he’s worked for.
“Absolutely,” Usman responded in an ESPN interview when asked if things will be different between him and Burns. “I worked tirelessly to get to a certain spot, in a position to where I can send my daughter to private school if I want. And so for you to see that and say, you know what? No, I want that. I’m taking that. Then, that’s inevitable.
“Of course, it’s different now. This time, I don’t see you as that guy anymore. I see you as just a face that’s standing across from me trying to take that from my daughter.”
Usman Believes UFC 258 Main Event Outcome Is Already Known
Usman believes that one thing that will stay the same between him and Burns are the outcomes of the sparring sessions, which will transfer into the full-speed rounds on February 13. Usman claims that both he and Gilbert Burns know full well how their numerous sparring sessions went; therefore, they know how the fight will play out a week from Saturday.
“Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. We know how it’s gonna go,” Usman said. “Of course, he’s gotten a lot better. You can’t take that from him. I would be playing myself if I said that he hasn’t improved over the years. And confidence is a helluva drug, too. So he’s confident. He feels confident in the improvements that he’s made.
“But you made certain improvements in the last two years. I’ve been doing this. I’ve been doing the same thing. I showed you the game. You watched me do it. So you’re like, ‘OK, I bought in a couple years ago. I need to do this to improve.’ But I’ve been doing that consistently for years and years and years and years. So we both know what’s gonna happen.”
What’s your take on Kamaru Usman’s confidence leading into his UFC 258 welterweight title defense against Gilbert Burns?