Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and contender Gilbert Burns are facing each other at UFC 258. However there was once a point where they trained together often, and according to Gilbert, those sessions were intense.
UFC 258 has a lot of exciting fights to look forward to, but sitting atop the bill is teammates turned competitive rivals Usman and Burns. This is a rescheduled bout that originally fell through after Gilbert tested positive for COVID-19.
While they used to train together, there is not exactly bad blood in this rivalry. It is more of a matter of Gilbert wanting the title that Kamaru has. Yet that does not make it any less of an interesting matchup on paper.
View this post on Instagram
Gilbert Burns Recalls Training With Kamaru Usman
While there is no bad blood between Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman, there is still the element of them having trained together, that makes this fight interesting. Of course, we all know that sparring reflects how a real fight will go.
That is the sentiment that Gilbert had, when speaking in a recent interview. However he did make it clear that when he and Kamaru were sparring together back in the day, things were quite intense.
“I know a lot of things about him, but on the other hand, he knows a lot of things about me too,” Burns said.
“We’re going to go out there, I’m going to try to knock him out or submit him. I know he… has a lot of bad intentions in that fight (for me).
“The thing is, we sparred so many times. When he moved to (Sanford MMA), I think we were getting smarter with sparring. But at the blackzilians, I had so many fights. It wasn’t sparring, it was fighting.
“I had so many fights with Kamaru that we made for experience, and we did that for free. Now why not for the world title? That means Henri Hooft, and everyone at the Blackzilians did a great job.”
Gilbert Burns made it clear that this fight is nothing but business, that he has no hatred for Kamaru Usman. As for who won those intense sparring sessions, he says it was pretty even.
“I won a couple, he won a couple. A lot of people, the guys that were watching, they won because wow, there was a lot of hard sparring,” Burns said.
“It was a fight. It wasn’t rounds of touching and sparring, that was a freaking fight. We did a lot of that, so we’re just going to do one more but now it’s going to for the world title with small gloves, inside the Octagon.
“I believe I’m going to win, and I’m working super hard for that. I believe I’m the guy who can finish Kamaru Usman… I can grapple better than anyone in that division, and I have so much power in my hands that I’m (the most) dangerous guy in that division, and I can finish Kamaru Usman.”
How do you see Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns going down on February 13th, at UFC 258?