‘200 rounds sparring at least’

Gilbert Burns doesn’t require to do much studying for his very first UFC title bout.

The Brazilian handles previous colleague and UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman in the primary occasion of UFC 258 on Feb. 13 in Las Vegas. This battle was initially arranged to occur last July, however a favorable COVID-19 test required Burns (19-3 Mixed Martial Arts, 12-3 UFC) out. The 2 were later on reserved for UFC 256 on December, however Usman was not able to combat due to injury.

Now, in a 3rd reservation, the duo are set to clash next month, however it will not be the very first time the 2 will trade punches.

“Me and Kamaru had over 200 rounds sparring, at least,” Burns informed Mixed Martial Arts Addict. “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.

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“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.”

The training relationship in between Usman (17-1 Mixed Martial Arts, 12-0 UFC) and Burns pertained to an end when Burns ended up being a title competitor at 170 pounds, getting wins over Demian Maia and previous champ Tyron Woodley in succession in early 2020. Burns’ increase pressed Usman to take his training to Colorado under the tutelage of Trevor Wittman.

Burns remembers training with Usman fondly and won’t minimize the truth Usman was a terrific partner and a huge aid to his profession.

“It was hard work for both,” Burns stated. “He beat me up a couple of times; I beat him up a couple of times. It was very competitive, especially when I went up to 170. I think I was always a natural welterweight, but as soon as I moved up (from 155 pounds), I got a little bigger and then I felt even better with all the welterweights at the gym.

“But it was always good work. Kamaru was always a guy that if I saw that he was available, I was always looking to drill or to train and with him. We helped each other a lot.”

Come Feb. 13, Burns needs to secure Usman to attain his imagine ending up being a UFC champ. Although they have history and they understand each other extremely well, Burns wishes to keep the battle strictly service.

“I have so much respect for Kamaru,” Burns stated. “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.”

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.