‘I Did a Bad Job’- Kamaru Usman Looks Back at His Critical Mistakes Against Gilbert Burns at UFC 258

Published 02/17/2021, 11:48 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 13: (L-R) Gilbert Burns of Brazil punches Kamaru Usman of Nigeria in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, spoke to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and dived right into his performance at UFC 258. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ defended his strap against his former teammate Gilbert Burns in one of his most impressive displays yet. Usman finished off Burns via third-round TKO and racked up his fourth straight win in a title fight.

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What made Usman’s performance impressive was the fact that he effectively dealt with adversity. Gilbert Burns rocked Usman early in the first round, but that champion showed his mettle and bounced back. As the fight played out, he continued to solidify his stance and ensured he had his grittiest display yet.

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Kamaru Usman critiques his UFC 258 performance

True to form, Usman wanted to remain perfectly dominant under the bright lights. However, that’s not always feasible. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ explained that his hand position wasn’t where it needed to be in order to properly defend himself. This was something that could have potentially cost him dearly in the contest.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 13: Kamaru Usman of Nigeria reacts after his victory over Gilbert Burns of Brazil in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“Me shifting angles. My hands were kinda out and not up as much as I thought they were up. That was a big mistake on my part. My vision was very good. I saw the shot, I see every shot, which is great. That’s something we worked on with Trevor. Me definitely keeping my hands up which I do a decent job of wasn’t well enough, so that’s something I have to correct I can’t make those mistakes anymore.”

‘The Nigerian Nightmare’- Championship breakdown

Kamaru Usman doubled down on his defensive vulnerabilities against Gilbert Burns and shared that it bothered him. ‘Durinho’ is the type of fighter to chase the finish once he senses his opponent is hurt and this could have been a long night for Usman.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 13: (R-L) Kamaru Usman of Nigeria punches Gilbert Burns of Brazil in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“Like I said, one thing I did a bad job of is my hands weren’t up to where they should be. To where I can just absorb the hit and block the shot, but it snuck through. It bothered me that I got hit with that cause you’re like ‘Oh, you got dropped’ but you really didn’t get dropped. But that just goes to attest the work that Gilbert has put it and the talent that he has.”

Despite his vulnerabilities, Kamaru Usman left the Apex Facility as the undisputed champion with another title defense. Moreover, he’s officially not been dropped or taken down in his entire UFC run. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ has solidified the bar he’s set for future welterweight champions with his recent win.

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Darryl Pinto

1450 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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