What started off as a promising end of the year pay-per-view (PPV) event has been whittled down to the bone. According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, a Welterweight title fight between division champion Kamaru Usman and No. 1-ranked contender, Gilbert Burns, will no longer serve as the headliner.
Per the report, “The Nigerian Nightmare” needed more time to prepare for his third title defense, prompting the promotion to look for a new date.
“The Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns UFC welterweight title is off on Dec. 12, per sources. It doesn’t have a new date at the moment, but current talk is January of February,” wrote Helwani. “Usman needs a little more time. No new main event yet for UFC 256.”
This is now the second time the title fight between the two talented 170 pounders has been postponed. Earlier this year, Burns produced a positive COVID-19 test, which was the reason for his withdrawal from the championship fight at UFC 251 on July 12. As a result, Jorge Masvidal got the call up on short notice. In the end, Usman dominated “Gamebred” to earn a clean sweep on the judges’ scorecards.
If you recall, the promotion previously teased a rematch between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz for UFC 256, as well, but ultimately decided against the date. More recently, the promotion shifted gears again after expressing interest in booking Masvidal against Colby Covington, instead. While Masvidal versus Covington would make a great co-main event for UFC 256, some would argue 15 minutes of cage time between the two former training partners-turned bitter rivals isn’t enough.
As it stands, the only confirmed title fight on the card is one that will see Amanda Nunes defend her Featherweight strap against Megan Anderson. Elsewhere on the card, Amanda Ribas will face Carla Esparza in women’s Strawweight action.
Keep it tuned to MMAmania.com for additional updates.