Michael Chiesa believes Gilbert Burns knows something we don’t.
Burns is next in line to challenge Usman for the welterweight title in a fight that is expected to take place early next year.
It will be a battle of former teammates as when the fight was initially booked for UFC 251 in July, Usman would go on to switch camps from Sanford MMA to train under Trevor Wittman. He would later state that he felt a change was needed in his career regardless of the fact that he was facing Burns.
When it comes to mixed martial arts, teammates — especially teammates who are friends — don’t usually fight each other. However, Burns and Usman had no problem putting their friendship aside to test themselves against each other.
One reason for that according to Chiesa is that Burns may have had success against Usman whenever they did train or spar together at Sanford MMA.
That is one of the reasons why Chiesa is picking “Durinho” to come out on top.
“That’s going to be a hell of a fight I’m taking Burns over Usman for sure,” Chiesa told The Schmo in a recent interview. “That guy is a buzzsaw, dude. And when you look at the landscape of the sport, what history’s always told — let’s go back to when AKA had those three top contenders at 170 pounds: Josh Koshcheck, Jon Fitch and Mike Swick. Those guys will never fight each other, it’s just not going to happen.
“But maybe something happened in the training room between Burns and Usman that got Burns saying, ‘you know what? I will fucking fight this guy.’ Who knows what it is. Nonetheless, it’s going to be an exciting fight but I got to go with Gilbert Burns. I’m always going to be biased towards the jiu-jitsu players for sure.”
Burns tested positive for COVID-19 which led to his UFC 251 withdrawal. The fight was then set for UFC 256 in December only for Usman to require more time.
Hopefully, the third time is a charm and we get to see if Chiesa’s theory has some legs to it.
You can watch the full interview below: