Gilbert Burns doesn’t have to do a lot finding out for his first UFC title bout.
The Brazilian takes on former teammate and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the principle occasion of UFC 258 on Feb. 13 in Las Vegas. This struggle was initially scheduled to happen final July, however a optimistic COVID-19 take a look at compelled Burns (19-Three MMA, 12-Three UFC) out. The 2 have been later booked for UFC 256 on December, however Usman was unable to struggle on account of damage.
Now, in a 3rd reserving, the duo are set to conflict subsequent month, nevertheless it is not going to be the primary time the 2 will commerce punches.
“Me and Kamaru had over 200 rounds sparring, a minimum of,” Burns instructed MMA Junkie. “We began coaching collectively in 2012 in Blackzillians. Then Blackzillians broke down, they disappeared, so we moved with Henri Hooft. We went to a spot referred to as Fight Membership. Then we have been there for nearly a 12 months, after which we opened up the Arduous Knocks. We have been at Arduous Knocks for 2 years. Then we moved to Sanford MMA after which we been in Sanford for a complete of two years. So I’ve skilled with Kamaru for seven years and we each love to coach.
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“He was coaching companion for me and I used to be good companion for him. Simply sparring classes, over 200. And simply the grappling classes, plus the wrestling classes, for certain I’ve so many hours on the mat with Kamaru. We all know one another very nicely.”
The coaching relationship between Usman (17-1 MMA, 12-Zero UFC) and Burns got here to an finish when Burns turned a title contender at 170 kilos, selecting up wins over Demian Maia and former champ Tyron Woodley in succession in early 2020. Burns’ rise pushed Usman to take his coaching to Colorado underneath the tutelage of Trevor Wittman.
Burns remembers coaching with Usman fondly and received’t downplay the actual fact Usman was an excellent companion and a giant assist to his profession.
“It was onerous work for each,” Burns mentioned. “He beat me up a few instances; I beat him up a few instances. It was very aggressive, particularly after I went as much as 170. I believe I used to be at all times a pure welterweight, however as quickly as I moved up (from 155 kilos), I obtained slightly greater after which I felt even higher with all of the welterweights on the fitness center.
“But it surely was at all times good work. Kamaru was at all times a man that if I noticed that he was accessible, I used to be at all times trying to drill or to coach and with him. We helped one another quite a bit.”
Come Feb. 13, Burns has to take out Usman to attain his dream of turning into a UFC champion. Though they’ve historical past they usually know one another very nicely, Burns needs to maintain the struggle strictly enterprise.
“I’ve a lot respect for Kamaru,” Burns mentioned. “I like him quite a bit and it’s going to be a contest. No unhealthy blood, nothing. I’ve nothing towards him. He’s been an excellent champion, teammate. We have been by no means shut pals, we by no means texted one another or something, it was at all times about preventing.”