Former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley believes Gilbert Burns will pose some real problems for the division’s reigning king Kamaru Usman.
Burns was originally expected to challenge Usman for the welterweight title at UFC 251 earlier this month, but was pulled from the fight when he tested positive for COVID-19. He was then replaced by Jorge Masvidal, who Usman defeated by decision.
Now that Burns has a clean bill of health, he’s expected to get the next crack at Usman sometime later this year.
Woodley has fought both Usman and Burns, losing decisions to the two men in his last two outings, and is therefore uniquely positioned to weigh in on their upcoming welterweight title fight.
Speaking on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Woodley explained that Burns will likely have many advantages in the matchup.
“He has power,” Woodley said of Burns (via MMA Junkie) “He has more power than Usman. He’s a better grappler than Usman, jiu-jitsu wise, but I think the striking – he may not be better, but he does punch a little bit harder, and it’s going to be a point where it has to go to the ground. We all just can be real: Gilbert’s gonna win that ground fight. Maybe not from his back, but if he finds a way on top or a position where he can take the back, it’s a problem.”
While Woodley believes there will be a long list of advantages in Burns’ corner, he acknowledged that Usman is an expert at implementing strategies and following a gameplan.
“Usman’s above average everywhere, but he’s not excellent anywhere,” Woodley said. “But he’s a good implementer. He’s above average everywhere, but he’s not excellent anywhere, but he’s excellent at putting it together. He’s excellent at making adjustments within a fight.
“Whether you like watching him take Masvidal down or not, he never did one takedown against Colby, and Leon Edwards he struck and when it was time to takedown, he went for the takedown. So he’s very good at putting it together, and he’s going to have to do that against Burns.”
Having heard this breakdown from Tyron Woodley, who do you think will win when Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns collide?