Gilbert Burns says his recent fight with UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman was “way different” than their previous sparring sessions.
Burns and Usman trained together at Sanford MMA for many years, engaging in upward of 200 sparring rounds during that time. When it became clear that they may have to fight one another, however, Usman left the gym and relocated to Colorado to train with acclaimed coach Trevor Wittman.
Not long after Usman left the gym, the pair were booked to fight each other. After two failed attempts to make the fight, they finally collided at UFC 258 last Saturday in Las Vegas.
Burns started strong dropping the champion in the first minute of the fight, but ultimately wilted under a storm of third-round punches from the champion.
Speaking to MMA Junkie several days after the fact, Burns looked back on the fight with Usman and explained how it differed from his numerous sparring rounds with the champ.
“I was surprised with his chin, because I hit him with everything,” Burns said. “Even when I fell on the floor, that was [a slip from] a high kick. That was my shin on his head and I felt that one was clear. I knew a lot of things [about him], but I didn’t know his game plan and he didn’t know my game plan.
“For sure [our previous training] helped a lot in preparation, but when it comes to the fight, I’m going to be throwing 100 percent, and him too, so we’ve got to watch out for each other,” Burns continued. “I think it played a little bit because we know each other a lot, but we had never sparred 100 percent with small gloves, with no shin pads, no knee pads. This was way different than our training sessions”
Since losing to Kamaru Usman at UFC 258, Gilbert Burns has made it very clear that he hopes to earn another title shot. How do you think a second fight between the pair would go?