Daniel Cormier feels Gilbert Burns would’ve bested Kamaru Usman based on “The Nigerian Nightmare’s” UFC 251 performance.
Usman put his UFC welterweight championship on the line against Jorge Masvidal on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. It was a mostly one-sided affair, although Masvidal showcased improved takedown defense and hung in tough until the final frame. Usman earned the unanimous decision victory for his second successful title defense.
Cormier told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that had Burns been able to face that version of Kamaru Usman, “Durinho” would be the 170-pound champion right now.
“Can I say something that Usman’s probably not gonna like too much?” Cormier asked when discussing Kamaru Usman’s UFC 251 performance. “If you’re Masvidal, you go fight “Rocky” [Leon Edwards] when Usman fights Gilbert Burns because if Usman fought Gilbert Burns [the way he fought Masvidal], I don’t think he would’ve won. I really don’t think he would’ve beat Gilbert Burns with the performance that he had last weekend. I think Gilbert Burns is too good and he provides too many problems on that night.”
Cormier went on to say that had Usman fought Burns and performed the way he did against Colby Covington, the story possibly changes.
“If he fought Gilbert Burns like he did against Covington where he was mixing it up, he might have won that fight,” Cormier continued when discussing whether or not Kamaru Usman would’ve beaten Burns. “But I’m saying like, the fight that he fought Saturday wasn’t gonna beat, or at least I don’t feel would’ve beaten Gilbert Burns.”
Burns was scheduled to challenge Usman for the welterweight gold on July 11 but he tested positive for COVID-19. “Durinho” initially received the title opportunity after negotiations with the UFC and Masvidal fell apart. Edwards was then contacted but travel restrictions prevented him from taking the title fight.
Following UFC 251, UFC president Dana White told reporters that the plan is to give Burns the next crack at Usman’s title. Burns is coming off a dominant unanimous decision victory over former 170-pound ruler Tyron Woodley. The win extended Burns’ winning streak to six.
With the victory over Masvidal, Usman has extended his winning streak to 16. This was the first time Usman had a fight camp outside of Florida. “The Nigerian Nightmare” hasn’t lost a bout since May 2013. He has gone unbeaten under the UFC banner.
Do you think Gilbert Burns would’ve emerged victorious at UFC 251 had Kamaru Usman fought him the way he did Jorge Masvidal?