'We're all gonna be talking GOAT status with this guy' - Dana White is pumped for Gilbert Burns vs Kamaru Usman

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman

UFC president Dana White believes Kamaru Usman is on his way to achieving GOAT status in the UFC's welterweight division. In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, White predicted that if Kamaru Usman defeats Gilbert Burns at UFC 258, he could cement his legacy as the greatest welterweight in the years to come.

"Usman is one of those quiet killers. This guy doesn't go out beating his chest, acting like a lunatic. Keeps his head down. He works hard... He's about to break GSP's record and if he can get through Gilbert Burns on Saturday night, which is going to be a tough fight. He's the guy that will just keep grinding and one day we're all going to wake up and go wow. We're all going to be talking about GOAT status with this guy," Dana White told TMZ Sports
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Undefeated since May 2013, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (17-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) is heading into the third defense of his title against Brazilian Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 PPV event on February 13, 2021. Usman is a former NCAA Division 2 champion known for his formidable wrestling and much-improved striking.

Usman became UFC champion by defeating Tyron Woodley in 2019 and has defeated a who's who of the welterweight division, including top contenders Leon Edwards, Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, Rafael Dos Anjos and Demian Maia. Undefeated in the UFC, Kamaru Usman currently ties the record for most consecutive wins (12) in the UFC's welterweight division with former champion Georges St-Pierre. The Nigerian nightmare will attempt to break the record by taking out his former teammate and No.1 ranked welterweight contender Gilbert Burns.

Usman's opponent Gilbert Burns (19-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) is a multi-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion riding a six-fight win streak that includes victories over notable fighters Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia and Gunnar Nelson. Gilbert Burns' last fight was against Tyron Woodley on May 31, 2020, which Burns won by unanimous decision to earn a shot at the title.

Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns: Teammate vs Teammate

Much of the anticipation surrounding the fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns is in their history. Tutored by Stanford MMA head coach Henri Hooft, Usman and Burns are longtime friends and training partners who have trained together through most of their UFC careers.

Fights between teammates tend to be more susceptible to surprising outcomes due to familiarity between fighters and inside knowledge of each other's strengths, weaknesses and tendencies that are otherwise unknown to those outside the camp.

Gilbert Burns is considered to be the biggest challenge of Usman's MMA career because unlike some of Usman's previous opponents who lacked in either grappling or striking, Burns is a versatile opponent who holds a major advantage over Usman in striking. He also has a world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background, which is likely going to help him survive the nightmare of Usman's wrestling.

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Dana White's belief in Kamaru Usman's impending rise to GOAT status is borne out of the possibility that all potential challengers to Usman's title other than Gilbert Burns are vulnerable to one or more aspects of Usman's fighting style. A win over Burns could significantly reduce the threat to Usman's dominance in the welterweight division for a while.

UFC 258 PPV event will take place on February 13, 2021 at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. The event will be headlined by a welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. The women's flyweight bout between Maycee Barber and Alexa Grasso will serve as a co-headliner. Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch and Jim Miller vs Bobby Green are other notable fights on the main card.

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Edited by James McGlade
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