UFC 258: Kamaru Usman Knocks Out Gilbert Burns to Retain Welterweight Title

UFC 258 ended with a bang as Kamaru Usman knocked out Gibert Burns in the main event. The fight had been hyped as the meeting of former teammates before the fists started flying. However, from the moment weigh-in occurred, it was clear that there was no love lost between two men who helped improve their craft against each other. Usman got loose in Round 2 and there was no turning back. His impressive record gave fans some feeling that he would carry the day as the current UFC welterweight champion. Burns had earned this shot and made it clear that he would do anything to get his chance at gold. Unfortunately for the challenger, this marks 13 straight victories for Usman. It's interesting to weigh all the different fights that could be lined up for the "Nigerian Nightmare." Before the fight, there was some skepticism about his chances.

Former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley believed that the UFC was trying to make Usman into a bigger star and worried he would end up like so many big star pushes in the past.

"They trying their hardest to push him," Woodley said in an interview with MMA Island. "No disrespect to Usman, he's a good guy. You can spend so much money trying to force a star on us and it ain't happening. Right now I feel like it's being forced… That's when Ronda [Rousey] lost, that's when Paige [VanZant] lost, that's when Sage [Northcutt] lost. That's when Nate Diaz beat Conor McGregor. That feeling feels very familiar to me."

Some observers from outside the Octagon wondered if Usman and Burns could put aside their friendship for this fight. It would seem as though we have a definitive answer to that question. Rashad Evans eloquently talked about the prospect of having to enter the octagon against someone you're very close with in a conversation with Marc Raimondi. Keep in mind, Evans was a mentor and friend to Jon Jones, but all that came to a head once they stood across from each other in combat.

"Fighting a friend is different because when it comes time to land that blow to end the fight that could permanently scar your opponent, are you going to be able to pull the trigger knowing that you're going to have to look in his eyes again? Knowing that you may have to really hurt him, knowing his family, knowing his background, knowing all those things. Are you gonna be able to pull the trigger and do what needs to be done? Despite how that guy might come out on the other end."


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