UFC 258: Burns wants to finish Usman, talks about Edwards-Chimaev, possible Covington vs Masvidal

UFC 258: The high-voltage Burns-Usman clash, which is set to be the first UFC championship bout of the year, had earlier been postponed twice.

Gibert Burns

Gibert Burns hasn't fought since May 2020, when he defeated former champ Tyron Woodley.   -  Getty Images

Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will finally get to defend his title against former Sanford MMA teammate Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The high-voltage clash, which is set to be the first UFC championship bout of the year, had earlier been postponed twice. While Burns had tested positive for COVID-19 last year ahead of his championship opportunity at UFC 251, Usman too pulled out of UFC 256 in December 2020 due to fitness issues.

Challenger Burns isn't too worried about facing one of the most dominant titleholders in the promotion, who is known for his wrestling skills.

"I've been practising a lot of grappling, boxing and kickboxing. I've undergone a lot of conditioning and I think I'm tough to beat right now. I'm super excited. I believe that I'll become a champion Saturday night," he told Sportstar.

Usman loves to dominate his opponent, push him into a corner and go the distance in his fights. Many fans of the sport consider his style in the Octagon to be boring. Burns, the No. 1 welterweight contender, feels he can never adopt a strategy similar to the champion in his division.

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"Kamaru's style is a bit boring. It's very different to mine. I want to finish the fight, and he's a guy who wants to dominate and control you. I think that's the difference between him and myself.

"When a person doesn't look for knockout finishes or submissions, I'm not happy. I go in and try to knock the guy out, or submit him, or take him out. That's my style, and that's how I like it. So, I do believe that I'm going to be the aggressor in this title fight," the 34-year-old added.

Brazilian star Burns hasn't fought since May last year when he defeated former champ Tyron Woodley during the first event at Vegas' UFC Apex in the pandemic era. He is now looking for at least three bouts in 2021.

"I do believe that I'm going to get that belt. I'm looking forward to fighting again in June or July and defending that belt. I have lots of work to do this week. I'm still busy, and I want to keep staying busy. I hope that I get at least two more fights this year. That's what I'm looking for," he said.

Burns also lauded fellow ranked contender Jorge Masvidal for stepping in at six-days' notice and taking his place at UFC 251.

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"I think Masvidal did well. He just got a fight at six days' notice, went all the way to Abu Dhabi and tried to finish. Kamaru stayed disciplined, trying to control and didn't get a lot of damage. I watched that fight a lot, and I could take several things out of it. Masvidal's performance was noticed."

Burns went on to express his thoughts on the Leon Edwards vs Khamzat Chimaev welterweight encounter which will happen next month and a possible Colby Covington vs Masvidal showdown later.

"I believe Covington wins against Masvidal. I don't know about the other fight. I think Chimaev has a chance against Edwards. I'm going to be looking at those two fights very closely because the winners there will be one of my next opponents," he signed off. 

Watch UFC 258 - Usman vs Burns on February 14, 2021, LIVE and Exclusive on Sony Ten 2, and Sony Ten 3 (Hindi) channels from 8:30 AM IST.