One way or another, whether it was Kamaru Usman retaining or Gilbert Burns claiming the welterweight title, the immediate UFC 258 main event aftermath figured to be emotional.
And it was.
That’s because Usman and Burns were former training partners and have been friends for a long time. It was the main storyline heading into their fight. And after Usman (18-1 MMA, 13-0 UFC) roared back to finish Burns (19-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) by TKO in the third round at the UFC Apex, the emotions ran high.
While Bruce Buffer announced Usman as the winner, you could see him trying to hold back tears, probably coming to terms with the fact that he’d just beat up his friend (via Twitter):
And then there was the embrace between Usman and Burns, which was amazing to watch and felt even bigger because of the cinematic camera filter (via Twitter):
In the build-up, Usman maintained there was no “being friends.” And when they squared up before Round 1, it was Usman who declined Burns trying to touch gloves. But after the fight, Usman admitted there was an emotional toll heading in.
“It’s hard to come in without all the emotions,” Usman said. “Gilbert is a guy that I’ve known from the start. I love him. This one was tough for me to deal with.”
Respect to both men.
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