GILBERT BURNS is rooting for Kamaru Usman to retain his UFC title – fearing Jorge Masvidal would make a “circus” of the welterweight division.
The Brazilian, 33, was set to face Usman for the belt at UFC 251 on ‘Fight Island’ but was dramatically pulled from the event after testing positive for Covid-19.
Masvidal, who initially failed to agree terms before the fight was handed to Burns, was then able to cut a deal with the UFC to fill in on just a week’s notice.
Burns believes his only hope of salvaging his title shot is for Usman to win – predicting Masvidal, 35, would instead target mega-fights with Nate Diaz, 35 and Conor McGregor, 31.
He told ESPN: “I want Kamaru to win. First of all, because I kind of like the guy.
“He’s not anymore, but he used to be my training partner, so for sure I got Kamaru. And if Masvidal wins, the things are gonna get crazy.
“It’s going to be a circus in that division. He’s going to fight who else, I don’t know, I think he wants to fight Conor or maybe Nate Diaz.
“I don’t think the division is going to run correctly, with the number one, number two guys fighting for the title.
“He’s going to make it a mess, so that’s another reason I want Kamaru to win.”
After talks between Masvidal and Usman, 33, originally broke down and Burns was handed the fight, Diaz slammed the match up.
The 35-year-old American later tweeted his approval of Masvidal replacing Burns, which ignited an online feud.
Burns said: “He’s a journeyman. I think I can beat the s*** out of Nate Diaz any day of the week, even with the ‘rona on me.
“Even with the ‘rona, I believe I can beat Nate Diaz, out-box him, out-grapple him. I can slap that guy up easily.
The guy comes out and does those comments, I’m a real fighter too, bro. I used to respect this guy a lot but I’m a real fighter too.”