Kamaru Usman has had to control his emotions before in the past when competing inside the Octagon. He had to do it at UFC 251 when facing Jorge Masvidal in a match that had been littered with pre-fight trash talk. He most certainly had to do it at UFC 245 in an epic grudge match against Colby Covington. But perhaps the most difficult occasion where Usman had to keep his emotions in check was ahead of and during his most recent title defense against friend and longtime training partner Gilbert Burns at UFC 258.
Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns had been training partners for several years and shared in one another’s highest highs and lowest lows. But at UFC 258, it was Usman who provided the biggest “low” of Burns’s career from a disappointment standpoint while Usman and Usman alone experienced one of his loftiest highs in a win.
Leading into the fight, much had been made of Usman’s decision to leave the camp and how both men were putting their friendship aside to battle it out for welterweight gold. When the bout was over, Burns’s emotion spilled onto the canvas while Usman’s was evident in his facial expressions and fired-up post-fight interview.
Usman & Burns Run Into One Another At Sanford MMA Following Fight
The smoke has now cleared following the event, and Kamaru Usman recently made an appearance back at his old gym where he ran into Burns for the first time since UFC 258. Burns shared an account on social media of what prompted the run-in and the nature of their exchange.
“Last week, March 2, we got a special visit right here, Sanford MMA: the champion, Kamaru Usman, our former teammate, my last opponent,” Burns said. “So he came here. We got a friend of ours, Sean Soriano’s fighting in Abu Dhabi. He’s very close with Kamaru, so Kamaru’s going to be cornering him. And he came to the gym. I believe he’s in South Florida because he’s got his daughter living right here, Samariah Usman. For sure, he’s spending time with her, and then he just came to the gym.
“And it was good. Respect’s still alive. And we shook each other’s hands, we exchanged a couple words. We’re all good right now, but I still believe we’re going to see each other again soon in the Octagon.”
Gilbert Burns believes the best way to get a rematch against Usman is to go through #1-contender Colby Covington. Meanwhile, Usman appears to be moving in the direction of a rematch against another recent opponent: Jorge Masvidal. In a perfect world, Burns and Usman would be helping one another prepare for these bouts just like old times. But although Burns and Usman remain cordial, their relationship is now competitive first, foremost, and final.
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