Kamaru Usman currently trains at ONX Sports under renowned coach Trevor Wittman. The UFC welterweight champion joined ONX Sports in 2020 after a three-year stint in the Sanford MMA gym.
Blackzilians was the first gym that Usman joined in 2011, a year before he kicked off his MMA career. The Nigerian Nightmare was brought into the Blackzilians team by former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
In 2012, Usman's UFC 258 opponent, Gilbert Burns, found his way to the Blackzilians gym, and both welterweights trained together for almost eight years until Usman decided to part ways in 2020.
Usman and Burns left Blackzilians in 2017 and joined the Hard Knocks 365 gym, which Henri Hooft established. Hard Knocks 365 eventually rebranded and became Sanford MMA in 2019. A year later, Kamaru Usman left Sanford MMA to join ONX Sports, while Burns continued to train at the same gym.
Speaking on why he decided to leave Sanford MMA, Usman said:
"You're training with someone, and you're giving them a bunch of knowledge you have, and you're learning from them as well. You're trying to help them build their career, but you're not thinking, 'Hey, maybe they're trying to take it from me. They're trying to take my career'. It sucks that we're kind of put in that situation. But such is life," Kamaru Usman told ESPN.
Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns apparently sparred together 300 times
Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns have apparently had a staggering 300 sparring sessions, according to coach Henri Hooft. Hooft trained both welterweights during their stints at Blackzilian and Sanford MMA gyms.
The legendary coach said he had no distinctive moves to teach Burns ahead of his UFC 258 clash because the Brazilian knew Usman so well.
"These two guys (Usman and Burns) know each other so well I don't even have any secret moves to teach Gilbert. They've already fought each other probably 300 times before. Sparring in my gym is real sparring, we don't spar light or like game plan sparring," Hooft told The Sun.
Hooft also added that he wouldn't see the two men fight when they lock horns at UFC 258, in which his ex-pupil got the better of his current student. Kamaru Usman defeated Burns via TKO in the third round to defend his welterweight title for the third time.