Kamaru Usman is changing training camps from Sanford MMA in Florida to Grudge Training Center in Colorado ahead of UFC 251 against Gilbert Burns.
According to Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Usman explained his decision to hold camp outside of Florida for the first time in his eight-year career leading up to July 12.
“I think eventually I would have changed things up anyway,” Usman said.
“We had a lot of welterweights at that gym. At some point, when you’re training with these guys on a daily basis and you’re the champion of the world, these guys know you in and out and if they get the better of you one day, they’re licking their chops thinking it’s their time. A little separation from that is good. It keeps that element of surprise because these guys feel like they know [your style].”
At this time, it is unclear if this is a permanent move for Usman.
When Usman vs. Burns was official, there were questions about how each fighter would approach training camp and the champion has made an unexpected move.
As the move was an element of surprise, Usman is joining an extremely talented group of fighters led by Grudge Training Center head coach Trevor Wittman.
Since the two fighters know each other’s tendencies, it will likely help Usman develop a new game plan against his teammate and Wittman is as good as it gets.
While it is unclear if Usman is specifically talking about Burns, the latter has shown respect for the former but wants to win the welterweight championship belt.
Although Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal was the fight to make, contract negotiations failed between them and Leon Edwards could not accept the rematch after.
With Usman defeating Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington to win and defend his belt, Burns was the only realistic challenger and he is willing to fight his teammate.
Coming off impressive wins against Demian Maia and Woodley, Burns has established himself as a legitimate contender and will look to end Usman’s streak.