After his massive win against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in the main event of Saturday's UFC on ESPN 9 held inside the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, Gilbert Burns is in a strong position to challenge for the much-coveted welterweight title up next.
However, the fact that he is a top contender for the title puts the 33-year-old Brazilian in an awkward spot because to win the title, Burns will have to go through his friend and teammate Kamaru Usman inside the Octagon. Usman is the reigning welterweight champion and there's a possibility that he might have to defend his title against Gilbert Burns in the near future.
Fighting his teammate will be awkward for Gilbert Burns
In the post-fight press conference, Burns acknowledged the fact that it might get a bit weird if he has to face his teammate Usman inside the Octagon but also stressed on the fact that both of them are professionals and this is hat they do so it shouldn't be much of a problem for him. Burns made it clear that he is coming for the title up next and even revealed that he's told UFC president Dana White that he will be available to fight as soon as July.
“I don’t know – it’s going to be weird, but we’re both professionals. I like the guy a lot. He motivated me a lot when he became champion and I saw him come from zero. And we always like to work together because I have the jiu-jitsu and he has the wrestling. So I don’t know. It will be weird, but I want to fight for the title and he’s the champion, and that’s the only reason I would call for this fight because else it wouldn’t make sense. I want to go for the title next and I told (UFC president) Dana (White) backstage I’m available for July. So if those guys keep being crazy, I want to fight for the title. If I don’t fight for the title, give me who’s available. If not Colby (Covington), give me Leon Edwards or whoever. I just want to stay busy.”
Usman was supposed to fight Jorge Masvidal in his next title defense but the latter seems more interested in a rematch with Nate Diaz due to which the negotiations for a possible title clash between the pair have come to an abrupt halt. Since then, Usman has called out a number of fighters including former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and former #1 contender for the welterweight title, Colby Covington.
However, with Burns beating former champion Woodley on Saturday night, things could play out differently and Usman might be booked against the Brazilian for his next title defense.
Burns, who is on a six-fight winning streak in the UFC at the moment has certainly established himself as a top contender in the division, and after the scale of former champion Woodley, he is certainly in contention to get the next shot at Usman's title. Speaking about the fight, Burns said that he went inside the Octagon with a gameplan in mind and is happy that he executed it perfectly.
“I executed everything I trained. I visualized everything with the finish. I didn’t get the finish, but that is not at bad thing because I wanted to show everyone I could fight five rounds with a former champion, take him down and do everything that I did. For sure, there are a lot of things that I need to get better – a couple of things that (coach) Henri (Hooft) pointed for me. But I’m happy with my performance for sure.”