Ahead of the clash between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 on February 13th, the latter has been issuing plenty of warning statements to his opponent. Burns has asserted that he will finish Usman in ‘three or four rounds’ and that he has a quest to take on many of the sport’s top fighters on his path to ultimate domination in the UFC.

For Usman, those kinds of comments may draw a condescending smile. After all, he is the deserved holder of the UFC Welterweight Championship, and despite Burns’ braggadocio and boastfulness, it’s likely that Usman sees him as nothing more than a piece of dirt on his shoe which needs wiping away. Come February 13th, we’ll see whether or not Burns can back up his comments and jibes when the pair enter the octagon.

Usman is the odds-on favourite to win the clash according to the Gilbert Burns vs Usman odds, and it’s no surprise given his record of 17 wins and 1 defeat in his professional career. That solitary loss came in Usman’s second pro fight, way back in 2013, and since then he boasts a flawless record. This culminated in gaining the welterweight title in March 2019 after victory over Tyron Woodley. For that reason alone, there is very little reason to doubt Usman ahead of the clash with Burns.

Indeed, the Nigerian’s task is simply to rise above the pettiness which Burns seems intent on engaging in, and focus on the hard facts ahead of this fight. Of course, Burns must not be taken lightly. Beneath the over-confident media comments lies an excellent fighter, one who has a lot of momentum at the moment after winning six fights on the spin. His rise to prominence once again has caught the eye of many, but Usman will be confident in his own abilities ahead of the UFC 258 showdown.

In contrast to the attitude of Burns, Usman has never been one to assert his own status in the sport. The Nigerian has said that he is not the type to give himself self-styled titles, and that it is up to others to assess his legacy in the UFC.

“Honestly, I don’t look at that. I don’t think about that,” Usman said. “I don’t think about stuff like that. I remember when Tyron Woodley was saying those things, he’s the greatest welterweight of all time and this and that. Of course he’s in that conversation but that’s not something you bestow upon yourself. That’s not something I want to think about and say I’m this, I’m that.”

It’s a refreshingly modest point of view, and one that is at odds with Burns’ very public declaration of all the fighters he thinks he can beat en route to becoming the best in the business. He may well be in for a shock when he enters the octagon with Usman. You don’t get such a dominant record in the UFC without possessing a unique blend of power and finesse, and Burns may ultimately prove to be just another fly swatted aside as Usman rumbles on towards yet more greatness.

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