UFC close to finalizing Kamaru Usman-Gilbert Burns title fight for UFC 256

Why Burns deserves his shot at Usman at UFC 256 (1:27)

Brett Okamoto explains why Gilbert Burns deserves the shot at Kamaru Usman's welterweight title after being pulled from UFC 251 due to a positive coronavirus test. (1:27)

The UFC is close to finalizing a welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns for UFC 256 on Dec. 12, UFC president Dana White told ESPN.

The 170-pound title fight was supposed to headline UFC 251 on July 11 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, but Burns was pulled from the event that week after testing positive for COVID-19.

The rescheduled championship fight will take place on the same night as a featherweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Megan Anderson.

Usman (17-1), who is a perfect 12-0 in the UFC, will be seeking his third title defense. He won the belt by dethroning Tyron Woodley in March 2019, and he has gone on to record defenses against Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.

Burns (19-3) has been one of the hottest fighters in the UFC in 2020. A former lightweight, Burns knocked out Demian Maia in March and then dominated Woodley in a five-round main event in May. The 34-year-old has not lost since he suffered a knockout to Dan Hooker in July 2018 in the lightweight division.

Adding to the intrigue of the matchup is the fact that Usman and Burns are former teammates. The two trained together in South Florida beginning in 2012, before Usman relocated his camp to Denver ahead of UFC 251.