Gilbert Burns will face Kamaru Usman for the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight crown at UFC 256 on Dec. 12, so it was something of a surprise when the champion paid a recent visit to the challenger’s camp. According to Brazilian outlet Combate.com, Usman showed up at a Sanford MMA training session on Sept. 14.
“The Nigerian Nightmare” was once part of the Sanford MMA team but elected to move to Elevation Fight Team in Colorado in June. While Usman’s visit was celebrated by some of his former stablemates, Burns considered it a “psychological test” from the champion.
“I think he wanted to intimidate me, but somehow, I had a feeling that he was going to show up, so it was not a big surprise to me,” Burns said. “I went there and talked to him: ‘How are you? Everything fine?’ He asked, ‘What about [the coronavirus]?’ I answered, ‘100 percent cured and ready.’ If he wanted to make me feel uncomfortable, he was probably surprised by my easy welcome.”
According to Burns, after their brief conversation ended, he warmed up and began his training. The fact that Usman sparred with Vicente Luque—the challenger’s best friend and closest teammate—was of no concern for Burns.
“We trained so many times together that if he sees me training or I see him, nothing will change,” Burns said. “We already know what we are going to do in the fight, so nothing will change.”