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Gilbert Burns believes it’s in his best interest for Kamaru Usman to emerge victorious in the UFC 251 headliner this Saturday.
Burns was originally supposed to face Usman at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, but the Brazilian tested positive for COVID-19 last week and was forced to withdraw from the bout. That alllowed Jorge Masvidal to step in on short notice and take the championship fight. For most fans, it’s probably the more attractive of the two possible matchups since Masvidal emerged as one of the UFC’s biggest stars in 2019.
However, Burns hopes Usman can defeat “Gamebred” because he believes that will allow for some semblance of order to remain in the UFC’s welterweight division. If Masvidal is victorious, the Miami native could elect to chase big-money fights rather than defend against top contenders such as Burns and Leon Edwards.
“I want Kamaru to win. First of all, because I kind of like the guy. He used to be my training partner. So for sure I’ve got Kamaru,” Burns recently told ESPN.
“If Masvidal wins, things are gonna get crazy. It’s gonna be a circus in that division. I think he’s gonna fight Conor [McGregor], or maybe Nate Diaz. I don’t think the division is gonna run correctly, with the No. 1 and No. 2 guys fighting for the title. He’s gonna make a mess. That’s another thing why I want Kamaru to win too, and I think I will be next But if Masvidal wins I know it’s gonna be a mess in that division. Things are gonna get crazy.”
Burns has won his last six UFC bouts, including four at 170 pounds. “Durinho” earned his biggest win to date at UFC on ESPN 9, taking a dominant five-round verdict over ex-champ Tyron Woodley on May 30.