Saturday, July 2, 2022

Gilbert Burns Opens Up On Sanford MMA Reunion With Kamaru Usman

UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns has discussed reigning champion Kamaru Usman‘s recent return to Sanford MMA in Florida.

Prior to 2020, Burns and Usman trained under the same renowned roof, and had done at both Sanford MMA and the now-defunct Blackzilians gym. But after winning the 170-pound title and recording his first successful defense, “The Nigerian Nightmare” turned to Trevor Wittman to help improve and advance his striking skills.

In his first fight under the tutelage of Wittman, Usman was scheduled to share the Octagon with former teammate Burns. After the Brazilian’s withdrawal, he instead defeated Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251, before facing his former teammate seven months later.

Following a fairly heated buildup, the pair headlined UFC 258 in February 2021. Despite an early scare, Usman recovered and put his standup development on full display, stopping “Durinho” via TKO in the second frame.

After an emotional Burns was comforted post-fight by the champ, it appeared relations were cordial, something which has been evident in recent months with Usman’s visits to his old training facility.

Burns: I Have No Personal Issues With Usman

Ahead of Burns’ memorable three-round war with Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273 in April, Usman returned for a Sanford reunion. Having remained present at the gym in the weeks that have followed, it seems there’s no bad blood between the titleholder and his previously defeated contender.

During a recent interview with The Schmo, Burns opened up about what it’s like having Usman back at the gym, admitting that the presence of a man he lost to is ‘humbling’. Ultimately, the Brazilian suggested that the more talent available at Sanford, the better.

“It’s good. I think he humbles me a lot because I lost to the guy. I don’t have no personal issues with the guy,” said Burns. “We’ve worked together a couple times, and it’s good, it’s good to have the guy back. People ask, ‘What about if you guys fight,’ we’re gonna fight. The only guy that I don’t fight in that division is Vicente Luque. Other than that, I’ll fight anyone in that division.

“I’m gonna keep chasing that title. I’m not chasing Kamaru, I’m not chasing anyone, I’m chasing the title. It’s good, good to work with this guy, he has a lot of experience, has fought everybody, is undefeated in the UFC,” added Burns. “Yeah, it’s always good. We have a ton of good guys at Sanford MMA.”

Kamaru Usman Gilbert Burns
Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns

While their relationship may be good, Burns still boasts title aspirations and will be hoping to book a second crack at dethroning Usman soon enough. While his next opponent is yet to be confirmed, “Durinho” has his sights set on Masvidal and Colby Covington.

How do you think a rematch between Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman would play out?

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