For the second time this year, a welterweight title showdown between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns has been pushed back, this time as Usman needs more time to recover from undisclosed injuries, per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
The fight was set to be the main event for UFC 256 on December 12 in a rescheduled bout after Burns had to pull out of UFC 251 late with a positive COVID-19 test. That led to Jorge Masvidal taking Usman on with short notice at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. Usman won that fight by unanimous decision to move to 17-1 in his career and defend his belt successfully for a second time. As for what will replace Usman-Burns on the December card remains to be seen, with Helwani noting UFC is exploring various options, but nothing is close to a done deal yet.
Among the potential headliners are a Jorge Masvidal-Colby Covington bout or a Stipe Miocic-Francis Ngannou heavyweight title fight, but neither are far along in discussions — with Helwani noting Miocic-Ngannou is especially a “long shot.” It will be the second straight major card that has needed a new main event, with Cody Garbrandt having to pull out of the UFC 255 main with a torn biceps. As of now, Amanda Nunes defending her women’s featherweight title against Megan Anderson is the lone fight confirmed for the card.