UFC President Dana White has confirmed that No. 1 welterweight contender Gilbert Burns will get the next crack at the division’s champ Kamaru Usman.
Usman and Burns were expected to fight in the main event of UFC 251 last weekend, but the fight was nixed when Burns tested positive for COVID-19. Burns was then replaced by Jorge Masvidal, who Usman defeated by unanimous decision.
Since UFC 251, there’s been speculation as to what will come next for Usman. Some fans expressed interest in a rematch between the champ and Masvidal, while others called for Burns and his fellow welterweight contender Leon Edwards to get their title opportunities.
Speaking to the assembled media on Fight Island, White confirmed that Burns will get the next crack at the welterweight title.
Helen Yee has the details:
— Helen Yee (@HelenYeeSports) July 17, 2020
“Dana White says @GilbertDurinho is next for Kamaru Usman, not Jorge Masvidal rematch #UFCFightIsland2”
This news will undoubtedly go over well with Gilbert Burns, who has been adamant that he deserves a title opportunity before Edwards.
He made his case in a recent interview with MMA Fighting.
“I’m just fighting for the belt,” Burns said. “I’m in recovery, the champ is in recovery. We’re gonna fight soon. That’s next. The boss already told me I’m next.
“Let’s make it one thing here: My birthday is July 20, and it’s going to be Leon’s anniversary, one year without fighting,” Burns continued. “C’mon, we can’t blame one year on the pandemic. When did it start? March. What was this guy doing from July through March? Since his fight, I’ve fought four times.
I agree, he’s won eight fights [in a row]. He beat two of my guys. [Vicente] Luque, that was in 1999, I think. That was so long ago. Then he fought [Rafael dos Anjos] 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 [Tyron] Woodley,” Burns concluded. “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.”