The main event at UFC 258 will not be the first time Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman see each other in a combative nature.
In fact, they have spent significant cage time together according to Burns in a new interview with Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. (H/T MMA Junkie)
“Me and Kamaru had over 200 rounds sparring, at least,” Burns said. “We started training together in 2012 in Blackzillians. Then Blackzillians broke down, they disappeared, so we moved with Henri Hooft. We went to a place called Combat Club. Then we were there for almost a year, and then we opened up the Hard Knocks. We were at Hard Knocks for two years. Then we moved to Sanford MMA and then we been in Sanford for a total of two years. So I’ve trained with Kamaru for seven years and we both love to train.”
“He was a good training partner for me and I was good partner for him. Just sparring sessions, over 200. And just the grappling sessions, plus the wrestling sessions, for sure I have so many hours on the mat with Kamaru. We know each other very well.”
This match up has been one that we all have been waiting for a while to see.
The fight was originally going to take place in July of 2020, but Burns contracted COVID-19 so the bout got pushed back.
It was then scheduled to be the headliner at UFC 256 in December, but Usman had to pull out due to an injury.
Burns has been on a hot streak ever since making the move up to welterweight. He is 4-0 at that weight and put on one of the best performances of his career in his last fight against former UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley.
Usman’s last fight was a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal in July to preserve his perfect record inside the UFC.
Unlike some of their previous fights, there seems to be a good amount of respect coming into this one.
“I have so much respect for Kamaru,” Burns said. “I like him a lot and it’s going to be a competition. No bad blood, nothing. I have nothing against him. He’s been a great champion, a good teammate. We were never close friends, we never texted each other or anything, it was always about fighting.”
Who wins at UFC 258? Gilbert Burns or Kamaru Usman?