Last week on ESPN’s flagship debate show First Take, UFC president Dana White broke the internet. He revealed that the much-anticipated Fight Island, where all international fighters will hold their bouts amid the COVID-19 pandemic, was located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Additionally, White announced that the next pay-per-view in line, UFC 251, would include three, yes, three title fights of which include: Alexander Volkanovskivs. Max Holloway for the Featherweight Title, Petr Yan vs. José Aldo for the vacated Bantamweight Title, and headlined by Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns for the Welterweight Title.
With the announcement of this super fight-card, many members of the media and UFC fans across the globe have taken to social media outlets to express their questioning of Gilbert Burns’ deserving of the title shot.
Everyone unanimously agrees that his dominant victory over former champ, Tyron Woodley, merited an eventual title shot, but have argued that UFC 251 might be too soon. People have pointed to the likes of Jorge Masvidal or Leon Edwards as more deserving of a title shot, sooner rather than later.
While I agree that both Masvidal and Edwards are incredibly deserving of their main event title shot, I believe the UFC’s decision of dubbing Gilbert Burns more worthy is both justified and deserving. Dana White has been quoted many times as mentioning that Burns has explicitly told him that he is willing to take the title fight anytime, anywhere, and that the money that comes with the fight is secondary.
This was clearly a dig by both Burns and White towards the likes of Jorge Masvidal amid the public contract dispute he and the UFC have been going through.
On a strictly fighting perspective, I personally cannot remember a time that Tyron Woodley had been completely outclassed in a fight the way he was by Burns.
I believe it was a much more dominant victory than that of Usman’s defeat of Woodley to capture the Welterweight Championship. Any fighter that can put on a string of notable victories and manage to do that to the former champ is worthy of a title shot to me.
As I mentioned earlier, the fact that Burns is on such an impressive run and is clearly not prioritizing his fight purse during this time of COVID makes his case for a Welterweight Title shot a legitimate one. As much as people may argue that Usman vs. Burns may not be the most marketable bout to fans, I believe they will be surprised by how entertaining this fight is bound to be.
Sure, Burns doesn’t carry the reputation of a Jorge Masvidal, but his fighting style is arguably just as entertaining, and he can easily give Usman trouble in trying to defend his belt. That being said, I am really looking forward to UFC 251, but specifically this title fight, as I believe this will be a much more enjoyable and closely contested fight than others may think.
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