Vicente Luque knows Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns was always going to be a closer fight than Usman vs. Masvidal.
Originally, Usman and Burns were scheduled to headline UFC 251 but the Brazilian tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, UFC president, Dana White has been adamant Burns will be getting the next shot. Luque who has sparred with both men believes it is a super close fight.
“I have trained with both of them. I know they are both great, especially grapplers stye match up really well but in different styles. Kamaru has that wrestling and dominates everyone with it. But, Gilbert is the kind of guy, if you get him to the ground, he is not going to stop there. He has a great jiu-jitsu background,” Luque said to MMANews. “He can try and fight off his back, he can try and sweep you, he can try do several different things. Gilbert is not just going to lay there and let himself be dominated.
“That is what he brings to this fight which is so different. He won’t be afraid of Kamaru’s wrestling because he doesn’t care to be on the bottom,” he continued. “If he is on the bottom, he will try and submit him, if they are standing Gilbert is looking for the knockout. It is a really interesting fight and they are so evenly matched.
Before the fight was canceled, Usman also left Sanford MMA and went to Colorado to train under Trevor Wittman. “The Nigerian Nightmare” was a longtime staple of the gym in Florida so Luque knows the champ would be welcomed back after his bout with Burns.
“That is a tough question. Nobody has any sort of problem with bad blood or anything, we are all professionals. I let Kamaru know I was probably going to corner Gilbert for this fight but at the same time, if he ever needed my help after this fight I would always be available. Kamaru and I are still good friends and nothing would change,” he concluded. “So, I still think Kamaru will feel free to come back to Sanford. From what I’ve seen, he’s having a really good time in Colorado.”