UFC fighter Gilbert Burns missed out on a title fight against Kamaru Usman due to a positive COVID-19 test. Days later, he received updated results. Burns officially tested negative and set the stage for his return to the octagon.
The title contender confirmed the news on Twitter with a photo of his test results. He circled the word "NEGATIVE" and expressed praise that he is now "COVID Free!" Burns also appeared on the podcast What the Heck? and revealed that he feels some lingering effects of his positive test. However, he is feeling much better and is ready for the next fight on his schedule.
Covid Free! 🙏🏾— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) July 20, 2020
Sem Corona! 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/A6Pb4srIaP
As he explained on the podcast, Burns is set to face off with Usman after pulling out of UFC 251 on Fight Island. UFC President Dana White confirmed that this highly-anticipated fight will take place. He also personally reached out to Burns and confirmed the title bout.
"It was a hard pill to swallow, but I believe God has a plan for me," Burns told What the Heck? "I just spoke with Dana White on Sunday and he said I'm next. He wants to see that fight: Burns vs. Usman. That's the next fight. It was all for the best. I wasn't feeling good and that was the only reason they took that title fight from me."
Burns is on a six-fight winning streak and boasts a 19-3 overall record(12-3 in the UFC). He previously defeated such names as Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia and Gunner Nelson to set up his title bout with Usman. That fight faced a delay due to the positive coronavirus test, but Burns is ready to begin training once again.
With the positive test, Burns had to go into quarantine for two weeks. His doctors also told him to take the time and let his body recover instead of training for the title fight. He officially passed that timeline and revealed on Twitter that he could begin training once again on Wednesday.
When he pulled out of UFC 251, Jorge Masvidal stepped up on six days' notice. He faced Usman and attempted to win the welterweight title but ultimately lost via unanimous decision. He reportedly hoped for a rematch against Usman — with a full fight camp to train — but Burns will take precedence. He will have the first shot at the title while Masvidal waits.