‘I See No Face’ – Kamaru Usman Sees Teammate Gilbert Burns as Just Another Opponent Ahead of UFC 258

Published 02/09/2021, 2:41 PM EST
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 12: (L-R) Kamaru Usman of Nigeria kicks Jorge Masvidal in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Fight between teammates brings an added layer of drama to UFC fights. On top of it, when the fight is for the title, the intensity certainly goes up many notches. UFC fans will witness one such battle of teammates this weekend as Gilbert Burns tries to dethrone Kamaru Usman. Despite having spent hours in the gym with Burns, the champ views this fight as just another challenger.

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With two title defenses in the bag, Usman is yet to lose a fight under the promotional banner. However, none of these fights have been against a former teammate like Burns. Despite not paying a ton of heed to the teammate part, Usman doesn’t chide away from accepting that the experience will be somewhat different.

Once friends… Now foes. #UFC258 pic.twitter.com/vW8EUzQWTx

— UFC (@ufc) February 9, 2021

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I will say it’s definitely different because you’ve felt them. You know the areas where you kind of had the upper hand and they know that as well. You know the areas where they’re strong. So it makes it a little different. At the end of the day with me, when it comes to me, I see no face. I didn’t pick him out of a lineup and say ‘this is the guy I’m going to take out,’” Usman said while talking to MMA Fighting.

Kamaru Usman won’t shy away from showing Burns why he’s the champ

Usman and Burns have been stablemates for around eight years now. However, ever since Burns moved up to welterweight, the two have been on a collision course. While the Nigerian reached the summit first, Burns has had a sharp rise with his wins over Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia, and Tyron Woodley in his last three outings.

After the UFC announced the fight between the two for the first time in June last year, Usman changed camps and started training under Trevor Wittman. Despite the fight being rescheduled a couple of times, Usman will make sure his opponent faces the best version of him.

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“I’m the king of the hill. I’m sitting up at the top. He’s the one who picked the fight. These are the guys who say ‘we want what he has.’ So when you want what I have, I have to defend that. I have to go in there and show them why I’m sitting at the top.”

While Usman is a bonafide champion, Burns presents a very well-rounded threat to the Nigerian. Who do you think walks away with the gold this weekend? Do let us know in the comments below.

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Rishabh Singh

655 articles

Rishabh Singh is an MMA author at EssentiallySports since 2020. An engineer in the making, his love for combat sports began by watching Anderson Silva light people up inside the Octagon. When he isn't busy in his technical pursuits, he is an avid reader with a love for sports in general and sporting history in particular.

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