Gilbert Burns was not impressed with Kamaru Usman’s title defence against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251, calling it a “boring” decision. He has also responded to Leon Edwards’ hopes of getting the next shot at UFC welterweight title.
Burns has been bulldozing his way through the division and was expected to put his skills the test against Usman at UFC 251. However, Burns tested posted for COVID-19 and was forced out of the championship fight that took place on Fight Island.
Instead, the “BMF” winner, Masvidal, stepped up at the last minute for the title shot. The main event showdown amassed roughly 1.3 million viewers and was the biggest PPV since Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor at UFC 229. However, “Durinho” doesn’t believe the fight lived up to the hype.
“I was very happy with the result of the fight,” Burns said to MMA Fighting. “It couldn’t have gone any better. I knew the fight was going down that way, that it would be boring, but I had Kamaru winning by decision (heading in).”
Usman’s last-minute opponent, “Gamebred” is known for his show-stopping finishes against the likes of Darren Till and Ben Askren. Burns knew Usman would rely on his wrestling background to neutralize Masvidal’s striking and believes their UFC 251 showdown lacked any surprises.
“I was like, ‘Man, that guy can’t win,’” Burns explained. “I believed—even if both guys had a full training camp—that Kamaru would beat him. It would be the same.
“If you’re just a striker, he’s gonna take you down, he’s gonna hold you down, beat you down and make you tired. That’s just Kamaru, but I was hoping Kamaru would win. I didn’t want any surprises.”
Durinho admitted that he was rooting for Usman to win as it would set him up perfectly for the next shot at the title.
“I have nothing against Masvidal,” Burns said. “There’s guys in the division I want to fight, but it’s not personal. I like the guy as a fan, I would pay to watch the guy, too. I have nothing against the guy, but for sure I wanted Kamaru to win because, otherwise, Nate Diaz would be jumping on the opportunity, or maybe ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, who knows. That would’ve been messed up for the division.
“Now, it is what it is. Kamaru is gonna take his time off, I’m gonna take my time off and as soon as he says he’s good, we’re gonna go in there and fight for the title.”
While Gilbert Burns is expected to face off against Usman next, British prospect Leon Edwards has also made a good case for a fight with Usman. He has the longest active win streak in the division aside from the champion and even faced off against “The Nigerian Nightmare” in 2015. He lost by unanimous decision but claims he has made vast improvements in recent years and is itching for a rematch. Gilbert Burns is not convinced.
“I agree, he’s won eight fights (in a row),” Burns said. “He beat two of my guys. Luque, that was in 1999, I think. That was so long ago. Then he fought RDA on my birthday last year. I’ve fought four times, almost five. You can’t blame it on the pandemic. He fights once or twice a year.
“So, here’s what I can’t get in my mind: he was supposed to fight Woodley. I went in there and fought Woodley, dominated him the way that I did, and then he gets a title shot? Because I beat the guy that he was supposed to beat? I make the effort, I did the work, and he gets the reward? C’mon, bro. Those people are going crazy. I’m next. Take that three piece and a soda back. I’m from Rio, I would take that three piece and soda back, 100-percent. I would want to finish that business first.”