No. 2-ranked UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns has enlisted the help of 170-pound king Kamaru Usman ahead of his fight with Khamzat Chimaev.
Burns will meet “Borz” during the UFC 273 main card in Jacksonville, Florida, on April 9.
Chimaev is one of the fastest-growing names in the sport, and he has an immense amount of hype surrounding him. Although he’s only fought four times inside the Octagon and is ranked No. 11 as per the official UFC rankings, Chimaev is a sizeable favorite over Burns.
At the time of this writing, BetOnline has Chimaev as a -625 favorite and “Durinho” as a +450 underdog.
Well, the battle-tested Burns is pulling out all the stops to halt Chimaev. And that includes working with Usman, the man he fought for the 170-pound belt last year. “The Nigerian Nightmare” and Burns met during UFC 258 in February 2021, and although Durinho found success on the feet early in the fight, he was clipped by Usman and ultimately finished via third-round TKO.
Usman has been helping Burns prepare for his April 9th battle, Durinho told TMZ Sports in a recent interview. Burns and Usman working together isn’t new, however, as the two were training partners in the past, before they fought inside the Octagon.
“Usman came a couple of days to help out,” Burns said via MMA Mania. “He was helping me a couple of times, not training with me but kinda coaching. Kind of on the side giving a lot of advice in my last three or four sparrings. Very high IQ and very good advice. Was good to have him around.”
Burns Has ‘No Beef’ With Usman, Wants to Become a UFC Champion
Burns bounced back from his loss to Usman by dominating Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC 264 in July 2021. With a win over Chimaev, Burns will once again put himself in the title picture and knocking on the door of another fight with Usman.
But Durinho made it clear that he’s not chasing The Nigerian Nightmare. He’s chasing UFC gold.
“That’s Rocky and Apollo, Apollo beat Rocky and came out to help out so yeah that’s kind of like being in it,” Burns said. “To be honest, I make peace with that. The guy beat me, for sure I want to become champion, but I’m not after Kamaru, I’m after the title, I want to become the champion, I want to become the best. I don’t have any beef, nothing personal, no grudge against Kamaru.”
Burns Expects His Fight With Chimaev to Be a ‘War’
In another interview with TMZ Sports, Durinho outlined his best-case scenario for his match with Chimaev. But, he also broke down how he actually believes the contest will play out.
“The perfect scenario, I’ll go there and take the guy out with a punch,” Burns said via the outlet. “Boom, knockout! That was the perfect scenario but I think it’s gonna be a war. I don’t think it’s gonna be that easy. I think that guy’s a dog, he’s gonna come hungry, excited trying to put on a show.”
“I think [Khamzat’s] very tough, I think he’s very good, but let’s be honest, he’s never seen on one on my caliber, grappling wise, jiu-jitsu, striking, speed, in a lot of actual experience,” Burns continued. “I’ve been there many times in the UFC title fights, many events. I think I have a lot of experience but I see that guy very, very tough — very, very dangerous. I’ll take him very seriously.”