Report: Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns Fight Called Off as UFC 256 Main Event

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2020

Kamaru Usman celebrates after his win against Tyron Woodley in a welterweight mixed martial arts title fight at UFC 235, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns won't be headlining UFC 256 on Dec. 12, according to ESPN's Ariel Helwani.

Helwani that "Usman needs a little more time," so the UFC is targeting a potential date in January or February instead. The promotion has yet to identify a new headline fight for the UFC 256 card.

Per Helwani, the UFC has discussed a possible heavyweight championship bout between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou and a Jorge Masvidal/Colby Covington matchup as an alternative. The former was described as "a long shot."

Usman and Burns were supposed to cross paths at UFC 251 on July 11, but Burns had to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. Masvidal filled in as a last-minute substitute and lost a unanimous decision to Usman.

Burns is the No. 2-ranked challenger in the welterweight division behind Covington, who lost to Usman via TKO at UFC 245 in December 2019. The 34-year-old is riding a six-fight winning streak that put him in position to challenge for the title.

When the fight is finalized, Usman will be making his third championship defense. He beat Tyron Woodley for the belt at UFC 235 in March 2019.

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