UFC welterweight Michael Chiesa thinks something might have happened in the training room between Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman that led to ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’s’ departure from Sanford MMA earlier this year.
Usman, who now trains under head coach Trevor Wittman in Denver, Colorado, will put his welterweight title up for grabs early next year, and Chiesa is picking ‘Durinho’ to pull off the upset.
Speaking to The Schmo in a recent interview, Chiesa hinted that Burns may have got the better of Usman in the training room but admits that he has a bias towards jiu-jitsu fighters.
“That’s going to be a hell of a fight I’m taking Burns over Usman for sure,” Chiesa said (transcript via Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA). “That guy is a buzzsaw, dude. And when you look at the landscape of the sport, what history’s always told — let’s go back to when AKA had those three top contenders at 170 pounds: Josh Koshcheck, Jon Fitch and Mike Swick. Those guys will never fight each other, it’s just not going to happen.
“But maybe something happened in the training room between Burns and Usman that got Burns saying, ‘you know what? I will fucking fight this guy.’ Who knows what it is. Nonetheless, it’s going to be an exciting fight but I got to go with Gilbert Burns. I’m always going to be biased towards the jiu-jitsu players for sure.”
Usman and Burns were originally scheduled to meet at UFC 251 but Burns was forced to withdraw from the contest after testing positive for coronavirus. The bout was tentatively rescheduled for UFC 256 in December but, this time, Usman pulled out due to injury. Both men are now expected to lock horns at a TBD event in the new year.
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