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'I'm not watching it' - Coach Henri Hooft explains why he won't tune in for Usman vs. Burns fight at UFC 258

Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns face-off (left); Henri Hooft (right)
Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns face-off (left); Henri Hooft (right)
Johny Payne
ANALYST
Modified 14 Feb 2021
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Henri Hooft has explained why he won’t tune in for the Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns UFC welterweight title fight at UFC 258. Hooft revealed that watching people whom he knows fight makes him nervous, which is why he won’t watch Usman vs. Burns.

Sanford MMA co-founder and former kickboxer Henri Hooft is widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches in the sport of MMA today. Hooft is a world-renowned striking coach, having helped train fighters such as Anthony Johnson, Vitor Belfort, Michael Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, and many more.

The UFC 258 headlining bout between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Gilbert Burns features two fighters who have trained extensively under the tutelage of Henri Hooft. Usman and Burns previously trained at the Blackzillians fight camp under Hooft in Florida and later at Sanford MMA, again under Hooft’s guidance in Florida.

However, prior to his UFC 258 fight against longtime teammate Gilbert Burns, Kamaru Usman chose to train with another revered MMA coach, Trevor Wittman at ONX Sports in Denver, Colorado. Gilbert Burns, however, chose to stay with Henri Hooft at Sanford MMA.

Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The Ariel Helwani Show, Henri Hooft addressed this all-important clash between the two former teammates. Hooft stated –

“Stylistically, it’s a great matchup, you know. So, I think it’s an exciting fight for the fans. But, like you just said in the intro, you said everybody must be watching at home. I’m not gonna watch. I’m gonna sit at my pool. My wife’s gonna watch probably, but I’m not watching it because I get too nervous for people that I know that fight…and especially this fight. I will hear it right after what happened and that’s the better way for me.”

Henri Hooft suggested that watching Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns – two of his pupils whom he’s known for a long time – fight one another makes him nervous. Nevertheless, although Hooft won’t watch the fight live, one can expect the legendary MMA coach to carefully analyze the fight in the days to come.


Henri Hooft has helped nurture brilliant well-rounded MMA fighters in Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns

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Gilbert Burns (left); Kamaru Usman (right)
Gilbert Burns (left); Kamaru Usman (right)

Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns are heralded amongst the best welterweight fighters in all of MMA today. Needless to say, Henri Hooft, one of the coaches who’s played an incredibly significant role in helping them evolve as fighters, has received widespread praise for his coaching skills as regards Usman and Burns.

Which fighter do you see emerging victorious in the UFC welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns? Sound off in the comments.

Published 14 Feb 2021, 08:06 IST
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