It’s fair to say that Gilbert Burns is in confident mood ahead of his clash with UFC Welterweight Champion Kamuru Usman at UFC 258. The February 13th event will pit two in-form fighters against each other, but it is Usman who boasts the superior career fight record, with just one defeat way back at the beginning of his professional journey, and that is why he is the favourite in the Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns odds.
The underdog tag has not stopped Burns from making some bold statements ahead of the fight, however. Among these is an assertion that he will finish Usman within the fight’s five rounds: “I just can see a finish. I’m very dangerous. I got good weapons. I’m making sure everything is getting sharp. The last two weeks until the day of the fight I’m going to make sure everything is in control. Everything that I can control I will control. I’m going to sharpen every single tool that I have, and I believe I will be the one that will finish Kamaru on February 13. I don’t know (when), but inside the three or four rounds I think will be able to get a finish.”
But it is not only the Usman fight that Burns has his sights on. It’s a dangerous game for any fighter to look further than their next bout, but Burns has been casting aspersions on the entire UFC in his quest for supremacy in the octagon. He has a goal of fighting and defeating all the top names in the division – a plan which will be geared towards UFC domination.
“I’m just different for these guys,” Burns said. “I think I’m a big threat and a big danger everywhere. If I touch you with any of my hands, you can feel it. If you try to wrestle me, I can wrestle you. If you try to grapple with me, it will be even more dangerous. I think I’m a big threat, not only for Kamaru but anyone in that division. I’m about to prove that. Then after that I believe I’m going to fight all these guys very soon.”
These are incredibly confident words, especially when he’s about to take on the division champion as a significant second-favourite. With one swing of Usman’s arm, Burns’ roadmap towards beating all the top names could have to be scrapped. In all his comments, he seems to be taking the threat of Usman extremely lightly.
The ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ didn’t get his nickname for no reason, and Burns’ bravado will do nothing but spur Usman on towards delivering a hammer blow to his opponents boastfulness on February 13th. Any fighter will deliver strong words in the build-up to the fight, it’s what generates interest in an event and leads to ticket (in non-covid times) and PPV sales.
But despite all that there is a sense that Burns is flying too close to the sun with his outlandish statements and his calls to arms ahead of UFC 258. Despite his designs on crushing the welterweight division underneath his palms, he must first focus on this incredibly difficult task of defeating Usman – a fighter who for most of his career has seemed unbeatable. If Burns does manage to achieve that feat, then perhaps he can credibly call out the rest of the sport’s stars.