UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman believes the pre-fight narratives ahead of UFC 273 were “disrespectful” towards Gilbert Burns.
Despite his #2 ranking at the time, Burns agreed to take on rising star Khamzat Chimaev, ranked #11 before meeting “Durinho,” at the April 9 pay-per-view. One of the leading discussions before the event surrounded the lopsided betting odds, which had “Borz,” who was yet to face a top-10 opponent, as a heavy favorite.
Unfazed by his underdog status, Burns, an 18-fight UFC veteran and former title challenger, brought the fight to Chimaev. Multiplying the number of significant strikes that the Chechen-born Swede has eaten in the UFC by over 100, the Brazilian played his past in a three-round contest that will no doubt be in the discussion for Fight of the Year.
Despite falling on the wrong side of a unanimous decision verdict, the respect and admiration for Burns no doubt increased off the back of his performance.
Now, former teammate and opponent Usman, who recorded a third-round TKO victory over Burns last February, his given his thoughts on the contest, slamming those who didn’t give “Durinho” a chance against the surging Chimaev.
Usman: Burns Was Wrongly Dismissed Before Chimaev Fight
During a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Usman praised both men for their efforts inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
But while he acknowledged that the hype behind Chimaev and his potential is good for the sport, “The Nigerian Nightmare” believes it paved the way for Burns’ abilities to be disrespected and underrated prior to the PPV.
“It was a very, very good fight. I think both guys came prepared the best they could, and the fight showed that. I think a lot of people were disrespecting Gilbert Burns, assessed Usman. “You get a kid like this (Chimaev) that comes in and has all this hype and everyone talking about him, the is great, it’s great for the sport, it’s great for guys like myself. It’s very good.
“And so, I think the way the media kind of portrayed the week, to where he was the most talked-about thing on that card… it was very disrespectful to a guy like Gilbert Burns, who has put in the years, who has put in the time, has fought all these guys to get up here at the top of the division, and now you’re just kinda dismissing him,” added Usman. “I think, to be honest with you, just minor tweaks from Gilbert Burns and I think that fight was definitely very, very winnable.”
Ahead of his collision with Chimaev, Burns repeatedly claimed he didn’t see the “monster” many people branded the 27-year-old as. Despite having his name added two Chimaev’s unblemished record, the Brazilian believes he proved that “Borz” is human with his performance at UFC 273.
While Chimaev, now ranked #3 at 170 pounds, moves towards a potential clash with Colby Covington and a future date with Usman, it’s back to the drawing board for Burns, who’s not giving up hope of securing a second crack at ascending the welterweight mountain.
Do you agree with Kamaru Usman? Was Gilbert Burns disrespected ahead of his fight with Khamzat Chimaev?
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