In anticipation of UFC 251 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Usman (16-1) has moved his camp to Denver, beneath head coach Trevor Wittman. The defending champion informed ESPN his nook will encompass Wittman — who trains UFC light-weight Justin Gaethje and strawweight Rose Namajunas — Jorge Santiago, his brother Mohammed and presumably Gaethje.
Though Usman has labored with varied coaches over time to get completely different appears, this would be the first time in his eight-year skilled profession he is really held camp exterior of Florida. He was a member of the now-defunct Blackzilians workforce in Boca Raton, Florida, going again to 2012, and has skilled beneath placing coach Henri Hooft the vast majority of his profession. Usman mentioned he left the workforce on excellent phrases.
“Florida was the bottom for a very long time, however you develop from there,” Usman informed ESPN. “We at all times had a ton of fellows, a number of the greatest coaching companions on the market and a few nice coaches.
“However I wished a bit of extra particular consideration at this level in my profession — somebody to have the ability to say, ‘You are going to are available right now and work on this specific ability.’ It’s totally powerful to try this when there are 40 to 50 guys within the room with you who additionally have to get consideration.”
Burns (19-3) has remained with the Sanford MMA workforce in Florida. Previous to Usman’s latest departure, the 2 had been sparring companions for years. Usman has even been in Burns’ nook in a number of fights.
Burns informed ESPN his camp might be nearly the identical, regardless of Usman’s absence — though Hooft has eliminated himself from the bout totally.
“Our fundamental coach, Henri Hooft, he stepped out,” Burns informed ESPN’s Phil Murphy. “He mentioned, ‘I do not wish to go both approach. I do not wish to choose a facet. You guys practice. I will be right here on the health club. If you wish to practice right here, we will practice. However I am not going to the struggle.’
“For me, it does not change an excessive amount of. It is just a bit bizarre to struggle Kamaru. I actually just like the man rather a lot. We have skilled collectively since 2012 or 2013, so we have put a variety of time collectively.”
When requested if Usman believes he is taking a danger by altering camps to face an opponent and workforce who know him so nicely, the champion didn’t appear involved.
“I believe finally I might have modified issues up anyway,” Usman mentioned. “We had a variety of welterweights at that health club. Sooner or later, whenever you’re coaching with these guys every day and you are the champion of the world, these guys know you out and in and in the event that they get the higher of you sooner or later, they’re licking their chops considering it is their time. A little bit separation from that’s good. It retains that factor of shock, as a result of these guys really feel like they know you.
“One factor I firmly consider is that it is my work. You could be with an important coach, however in the event you’re not placing the trouble in, that coach is not going that will help you win. That coach is not going to get in and struggle for you. I do know I put the work in.”