Will the third time be the charm for the UFC? The promotion is finalizing the welterweight title fight between champion, Kamaru Usman (17-1), and top contender, Gilbert Burns (19-3). The fight will take place at UFC 258 on February 13th.
As mentioned, this is the third time that the promotion will attempt to make this title fight. Originally the two were supposed to fight back at UFC 251. However, that wasn’t the original plan.
When 2020 started, the UFC was planning on Kamaru Usman defending his title against Jorge Masvidal. However, negotiations kept delaying that fight and ultimately it didn’t come together.
After Gilbert Burns defeated Tyron Woodley earlier this year, the UFC pivoted to giving the shot to Burns. Burns would go on to test positive for COVID-19 just a week before UFC 251 was scheduled to take place.
The promotion then went back to Masvidal and negotiated the deal. Usman successfully defended his title against Masvidal at UFC 251, but he didn’t come out of the fight unscathed. He needed a little time to recover following the fight with Gamebred.
The promotion then started finalizing plans for Usman to defend against Burns at UFC 256 in December. However, Usman went back to the promotion and said that he needed a little more time to heal up before the fight.
So for the second time, the title fight with Usman and Burns was delayed. Now, it seems that we have a date that works for all parties. UFC 258 will likely take place on Fight Island and the headliner will be the welterweight title fight.
This fight is so interesting because of the dynamics. First and foremost, Usman and Burns are former training partners. Both men know each other very well. Burns also possesses the skillset to give Usman a lot of trouble.
Gilbert Burns is one of the best ground fighters in MMA. He’s a world champion in Jiu Jitsu, but his striking has also evolved tremendously. He’s incredibly fast and powerful on his feet and he showed that in his last two fights.
Nobody in the UFC‘s welterweight division has been able to defeat Usman. He’s been able to methodically break down and beat all of his opponents so far. However, Burns could be the biggest challenge so far. It’ll be a great one when it happens.